Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), of domestic Twenty20 cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise tournament, have brought on board Qatar Airways as their new title sponsor, it has been reported.
The deal, according to Indian media reports, runs for three seasons and is worth the equivalent of $9.15 million, which would represent the second-largest deal financially for a franchise in the history of the IPL.
The airline’s logo will reportedly feature on RCB’s player jerseys across the length of the deal, starting with the 2023 season which will take place between March 31 and May 28.
If the deal is confirmed, Qatar Airways will replace the Muthoot FinCorp group as RCB’s title sponsor.
The team is currently preparing for its first game of the 2023 IPL season, against Mumbai Indians (MI) on April 2. RCB finished fourth in 2022, losing to Rajasthan Royals in the post-season playoffs.
The news comes as the RCB representative team from the nascent Women’s Premier League (WPL) welcomes its inaugural principal sponsor, Kajaria Tiles.
The brand will act as the main commercial partner for RCB's side in the inaugural five-team WPL, which begins tomorrow (March 4) and runs through to March 26.
The RCB women’s team (as with the others) was created through an auction process in January through which the franchise owners bought one of the five WPL slots available from the Board of Control for Cricket in India national governing body.
Rajesh Menon, vice president of the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise, said: “We are delighted that Kajaria, an established Indian brand, is our title sponsor for the inaugural women’s T20 league. We appreciate their partnership and support as we endeavor to play a key role in building and scaling the league.”
Rishi Kajaria, joint managing director at Kajaria Ceramics, added: “The Women’s Premier League will have a great impact on Women’s cricket, and we are excited to be a part of a team that will no doubt inspire the next generation of girls to take up sports.”
This tie-up adds to Kajaria’s existing cricket sponsorship presence, with the brand having put its name to the men’s national team limited-overs series between India and Zimbabwe in August 2022.
In February, the Indian conglomerate Tata Group was announced as the WPL’s first title partner. Other sponsors include Dream11, Amul, and CEAT Tyres.
Today (March 3), meanwhile, the Mumbai Indians WPL franchise has announced the onboarding of seven brand partners ahead of the inaugural WPL.
Lotus Herbals has been signed up as the front-of-shirt sponsor, while Ashok Leyland will have back-of-shirt rights.
The other partners are Dream11, Sonata Software, Usha, Max Life Insurance, and Nutrizoe.
Of these brands, all except Dream11 and Usha are partnering with the franchise for the first time – the other two firms already have relationships in place with the men’s team.
MI (another franchise with both men's and women's teams) take on Gujarat Giants in the opening WPL game at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai (where the entirety of the tournament will take place).
An MI spokesperson has said: "We are pleased to welcome all our brand partners to the Mumbai Indians family and become part of their growth story. We have always believed in having a deep relationship with our partners to create maximum value and offer our platform to build a strong brand narrative for them with fans.”
Last month, the BCCI announced that companies from the cryptocurrency, tobacco products, and gambling and betting sectors would not be allowed to sponsor WPL teams.
Yesterday (March 2), heavyweight UK pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports snapped up rights to the inaugural WPL.