Mumbai City FC has got the best sponsorship support among Indian Super League franchisees for the 2017-18 season; Jamshedpur FC owners Tatas did not go to the market to sell their inventory and North East United remain without a title sponsor. That is the tale of ISL clubs sponsorship sales – the prime factor to determine the commercial success of an active sports venture.
The club representing India’s commercial capital – Mumbai City FC – has garnered the best commercial sport. Going into the league, the Ranbir Kapur-owned premier football club had all the seven sponsorship slots on the team playing kit decorated with brand logos.
North East United Football Club, representing the region that has of late given the most football talent to the country, is playing ISL Season 4 without a title sponsor logo on players’ jersey. The passion for the sport in the North East States and star status of the club co-owner, film actor John Abraham have failed to give the desired commercial results to the club.
The most benevolent corporate for Indian sports, Tatas did not even approach the market with the commercial inventory of Jamshedpur Football Club. One of the two new entrants in the bigger, longer and now 10-team league have TATA stamped all over the team kit. The JUSCO logo on the team shorts too belongs to a Tata Group subsidiary – Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company.
The other entry in the ISL, Bengaluru FC too are donning promoters’ JSW logo as the title sponsors. The club that until last season has played the I-League is led by the Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri.
FC Goa is another ISL team to support a promoters’ brand – Deltin Hotels Goa – as the title sponsors. The club though has got Virat Kohli-owned Wrogn sports apparel brand as the kit partner, the brand icon is not displayed on team’s playing kit.
Delhi Dynamos this year have got the water purifiers brand Kent RO as the title sponsors. However, the Dubai-based club owners Aspire Academy have their own logo on the jersey chest. Aspire icon was displayed as the title sponsors when the club had not been able to sell the most precious sponsorship slot on the team kit.
Just like Mumbai, Chennaiyin FC is another club to have scored handsomely on sponsorship sales pitch. Apollo Tyres is the most prominent icon among the seven brands on the team kit.
Pune City is driven by Suzuki Gixxer as their main sponsor. The Wadhawan Group-owned club has promoted its brand icon Arjun Kapoor as the team co-owner. The title signing was announced with the celebrity co-owner wearing the team jersey that has Suzuki Gixxers written large on the front.
Kerala Blasters like NEU FC is another ISL club that comes from a territory with a tremendous passion for the sport. Like, NEU again the Kochi-based club has not been able to sell all its commercial inventory. The team is playing with no brand emblem on the back of their jerseys.
The Kolkata ISL outfit ATK, previously Atletico de Kolkata, has got seven logos on the team playing kit, the title sponsors RP Sanjeev Goenka Group-owned CESC Limited and Too Yummi on the jersey back are not among the much heralded corporate brands in sports sponsorships. The team is supporting two liquor surrogates – Shaw Wallace Haywards 5000 and McDowell’s Soda on the shirt right sleeve.
Brand Jio has assured its presence on every single team except the Tata-owned Jamshedpur FC, who did not put their inventory on sale. However, the clubs struggled to close their inventory sales as late as a day or two before the kick-off and a club each has not been able to sell their prime properties like the title and the shirt back. Even as football in India and ISL have registered a significant growth, the premier football league still has a long way to for becoming a commercial success.