Airtel title sponsor of Champions League T20

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 1 2009, 03:34am hrs
The largest domestic telecom service provider, Bharti Airtel, has acquired the title sponsorship of the Champions League Twenty20 for a period of five years starting this October. The deal is valued at around Rs 170 crore, according to industry sources. Bharti Airtel signed the deal on Thursday with ESPN STAR Sports, the commercial partners of Champions League T20.

A similar deal clinched by real estate major DLF Ltd in case of IPL's exclusive title sponsorship for five years was valued at around Rs 200 crore. As part of the Airtel-ESPN deal, Airtel will have rights to on-ground title sponsorship for a period of five years. The tournament will be played across three venues -Bangalore, New Delhi and Hyderabad--and would henceforth be called Airtel Champions League Twenty20.

Earlier this year, Airtel had signed an exclusive five-year deal with Manchester United to become the first Indian sponsor of the leading football club.

Shireesh Joshi, director, marketing, Bharti Airtel, said: "We have seen a great synergy between our brand and cricket, since both cater and connect to a wide spectrum of consumer segments. This synergy combined with the success of the Twenty20 format and the growing popularity of club cricket in India makes this a great opportunity for us to partner".

The first edition of the Champions League will be played in India starting October 8, 2009. A total 12 teams from seven test playing nations will participate in the inaugural edition. A total of 23 Twenty20 matches are proposed to be played in the 16-day tournament.

RC Venkateish, managing director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, It is our privilege to have one of the worlds leading integrated telecom services providers joining hands with us. We have always believed that this league will stand out as a premier international cricket property in the annual calendar of international cricket and this landmark partnership vindicates that stand.

Commenting on the partnership, Sundar Raman, chief executive officer, Champions League Twenty20, said: I am truly happy to have Asias leading integrated telecom services provider, Airtel, as the title sponsor for the Champions League Twenty20. The tournament will feature the best of the best in Twenty 20 teams from across the world and is sure to enthral cricket-loving fans in India and across the world.