The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced four global partners for its inaugural ICC World Twenty20 tournament set to take place from September 11 onwards in South Africa, and has also unveiled the trophy for the tournament. ICC World Twenty20 will comprise 27 matches at three venues of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg across 14 days.
The ICC confirmed that telecom operator Reliance Telecommunications, real estate company Emaar MGF, mobile handset manufacturer Nokia, and soft drink and snacks manufacturer Pepsi would be the global partners for the tournament. Yahoo! would be the official partner for Internet website and portal. The ICC also announced four South Africa-based local sponsors -- Standard Bank of South Africa as financial services sponsor, South Africa Tourism, Southern Sun Hotels and Imperial Car Rental. Some other sponsors for the event are to be announced later.
“We are delighted to be a global sponsor of the first edition of ICC World Twenty20. We are committed to support cricket, which is the number one passion of a billion Indians,” said Sanjay Behl, Head Branding, Reliance Communications.
Additionally, Nokia has rolled out a consumer contest ‘Catch the match’, which will give the top 100 winners a chance to witness the final match of Twenty20 live in Johannesburg. Nokia has been supporting cricket events for quite some time now; it was the on-air sponsor for the West Indies World Cup that was held earlier this year, and for the Champions Trophy that was held in 2006 in India.
Devinder Kishore, Director-Marketing, Nokia India, said, “We are delighted to be one of the four global partners of this ICC World Twenty20 Cup, which will give us an exciting and interactive platform to connect with our young consumers. The youth constitute a large percentage of Nokia’s addressable market and we have been consistently bringing out initiatives that help Indian youth ‘connect to their passions’.”
Commenting on the host of tie-ups, Malcolm Speed, Chief Executive Officer, ICC, said, “The ICC is delighted to welcome these outstanding companies as partners for the ICC World Twenty20 event in South Africa. They represent a great cross-section of organizations, with some continuing lengthy associations with the game of cricket. The commitment to the game, together with that of our official global broadcast partner ESPN STAR Sports, will help to ensure cricket’s long-term future by helping to underpin everything we and our members wish to achieve.”
“One-day international cricket is the financial driver of cricket as a whole. They provide new opportunities to promote the game to new audiences. We went around the world seeking sponsors and we hope that the partnerships that we have entered into would be a profitable relationship,” added Speed.
Pearl Uppal, Director-Advertising Sales, Yahoo! India, said, “We are delighted to be associated with the first ICC World Twenty20 tournament as the online partner. A unique microsite powered by Yahoo! India will capture all the action and excitement of this new cricket format.”
Sanjay Malhotra, CEO, Emaar MGF, said, “The glorious game of cricket is today opening a new chapter with the inaugural ICC World Twenty20, and Emaar MGF is proud to be part of this great moment.”
Reacting on the emergence of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), Speed said, “There is no restriction if any private company comes up with a separate cricket body, but we would only be interested to know five things -- who are playing, if the place where they are playing is safe enough, are there any corruption charges against the body, the charitable aspect of the body, and the consent of member in the respective country, BCCI, in India.”
The tournament is the first of the 18 ICC events for the organisation’s new commercial period of 2007-2015. The period includes two ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments in the Asian sub-continent in 2011, and in Australasia four years later.