The Mumbai Indians captained by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar are turning out to be a hot property among the IPL teams this year, with leading corporates rushing for a tie up with it.
Two-wheeler major Hero Honda that until last year was sponsoring Delhi Daredevils, has changed sides for the Reliance Industries Ltd-owned team and is paying an estimated fee of about Rs 75 crore for three years.
Moreover, Japanese tyre major Bridgestone has also become a partner with the Mumbai Indians and according to industry sources, is paying up to Rs 7 crore annually under its three-year deal.
At the same time, Coca Cola has replaced PepsiCo as the partner for MI (Mumbai Indians) for the season four of the IPL that kicks off tomorrow. Experts are of the view that Tendulkar would be the key factor, but so would be the presence of a lot of other top players when it comes to attracting sponsorships.
"It (Mumbai Indians) is among the better teams in the IPL and I think there is an air of stability around it. Also, it has a huge fan base and that must count for a lot," said cricket expert and commentator Harsha Bhogle.
For a company like Bridgestone, known for its past association with F1 and other motorsports globally, the Mumbai Indians is a preferred choice for what is its first ever association with cricket.
"We, as a company, would like to strengthen our involvement in India’s most watched sport and be a part of the victory; We are sure Mumbai Indians will achieve this IPL," according to Bridgestone India Managing Director H Tanigawa.
Another company, Loop Mobile has also joined the extensive list of MI sponsors this season. Other big brands that are associated with the team include Master Card, Dheeraj Reality, Addidas, Kingfisher, Royal Stag, Orbit, Boomer, Air India and MSN. Mumbai Indians, led by icon player Sachin Tendulkar, has added some new talent for IPL 4, including all rounder Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma. Mumbai Indians has stars like Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard.
Even an online retailer of consumer electronics and appliances Letsbuy.com has also partnered with Master Card. Master Card are preparing to launch MI Indians pre-paid card to offer interesting deals to MI fans.