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ICC's global sponsors in rethink mode

March 28, 2007 19:45 IST
With their seven-year association coming to an end after the World Cup, International Cricket Council's sponsors such as LG Electronics, Pepsi and Hero Honda seem to be having second thoughts on renewing the deal.

South Korean consumer durables major LG Electronics is understood to have closed the option of renewing its contract with ICC, although the move has nothing to do with India's misfortunes in the ongoing World Cup.

"Seven years ago, when we signed the cricket sponsorship deal, our requirement was different. Today, we have the leadership position in Indian market," LG Electronics India vice president (sales and marketing) Girish V Rao said. Rao, however, said the parent company in Korea is looking at the issue and would take a final decision.

Pepsi, another global partner of ICC, is also assessing the situation, especially after India's early exit from the World Cup.

"Pepsi is analysing the situation. We will revert with our decision shortly," PepsiCo India executive vice-president, (marketing, Cola) Vipul Prakash said. The company had earlier said India's poor performance in the tournament would have a short-term impact on advertising.

"Like the rest of the nation, we were hoping that the Indian team would fare better. Our creative strategy was based on this very premise. Therefore, in light of India's performance, there will be some changes in the short term, as far as advertising is concerned," PepsiCo India executive director, (marketing) Punita Lal had said.

She, however, added Pepsi has a long term association with cricket and it would continue in future.

Two-wheeler major Hero Honda also said it was "looking at the pros and cons at the moment." "We are yet to take a decision on this... there will be clarity in a few weeks' time," a company spokesperson said.

Hutch, which is also one of ICC's global sponsors, declined to comment on the issue. "This is a confidential matter which we cannot discuss in public," Hutch chief marketing officer Harit Nagpal said.

He, however, asserted the company's decision to either renew the contract with ICC or not, would not be linked with if India's dismal performance in the ongoing World Cup.

LG, Hutch, Pepsi and Hero Honda were contracted as global partners of ICC by Global Cricket Corporation, which won the broadcast and sponsorship rights from 2000 and ending with the current Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

The ICC has already sold its broadcast rights for the period between the second half of 2007 and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

This will include 18 ICC tournaments with two World Cups - in Asia (2011) and Australasia (2015) - and a minimum of three Champions Trophy tournaments.

It will also include the first two ICC Twenty20 World Championships, in South Africa (2007) and England (2009), the latter taking place in the ICC's centenary year.

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