The Indian cricket board is in discussions with PepsiCo India to resolve any concerns following media reports that the cola giant wants to withdraw as the title sponsor of the scandal-hit Indian Premier League (IPL).
Media reports said Pepsi wanted to pull out of the sponsorship it acquired for Rs 396 crore in November 2012 because of the spot-fixing controversy and the ‘disrepute’ the league was bringing to the game. The five-year deal ends in 2017.
The concerns came to the fore after the Lodha Committee report on the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal that saw the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises suspended for two years.
“BCCI and PepsiCo have had a long standing cordial relationship and have been in discussions to work out a solution which addresses PepsiCo’s concerns. Both parties will share it when ready,” PepsiCo India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a joint statement on Friday.
A BCCI official said Pepsi had been looking for a way out for some time and the issue was likely to be taken up at a working committee meeting in Mumbai on October 18.
“With the global financial crisis, they wanted out. Now that BCCI is going through a bit of an impasse, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to move out,” said the official.
“Right now, we are in a bit of a tangle. Two teams have been suspended and their replacements are yet to be decided but there is no doubt that IPL’s brand is growing.”
If Pepsi quits, finding a replacement wouldn’t be a problem, he said. “There are plenty of corporate groups waiting to invest. So a new sponsor won’t be a problem,” he said.