After deciding to withdraw from sponsorship of sports events, ITC is reviewing its support to cultural events as well. This is in response to the government's decision to bar cigarette companies from sponsoring sports and cultural events. Cultural events were being re-examined, confirmed event managers in the city.
As the cultural events sponsored by the company were mostly in the 'by invitation' category, with no gate money or ticket sale complications, a couple of functions in Kolkata and the capital were likely to be canceled in the next few days.
ITC sponsors a large number of cultural programmes and supports a school for Hindustani classical music, Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), at Kolkata.
The company hoped that SRA would not come under any difficulty as it was run through a separate trust. In sports events, the company's legal cell was studying the individual contracts with sports boards to quantify damages of withdrawing from sponsorships.
In most cases, the company would have to pay a reserve fee to boards till such time as a new sponsor emerged.
The company feels the government's decision to bar cigarette companies from advertising would boost the Rs 1,000 crore contraband cigarettes market and affect players planning to enter India after the quantitative restrictions (QRs) were withdrawn in March. The ban would in fact help foreign brands projected into Indian homes through satellite TV telecast of sports events held overseas.