Cornered by one controversy after another, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) was dealt another blow on Friday after Games merchandising company Premier Brands pulled out.
“We have decided to withdraw as the project has got delayed too much,” said Suresh Kumar, chairman of Premium Brands, leading sports merchandising firm in India. “I will never come forward for any event organised by the Indian Olympic Association,” he said.
HT had first reported (August 10) that the official merchandising and licensing partner of the Delhi Games, Premium Brands, had been threatening to withdraw as the delay in launching the merchandise was causing it huge losses every day.
Kumar said his company got an acceptance letter on May 19 but the contract only after July, after asking for it many times.
“The first lot of merchandise worth R3 crore has been ready for more than a month and is lying in the store room of the OC headquarters,” he said.
He said the merchandise would have yielded R100 crore if launched on time, when the Queen’s Baton Relay entered India on June 24. -“We have already lost out on 80 per cent business,” he said.
Kumar said if the merchandise is launched now, the company will not be able to even earn back its investment. OC spokesman Lalit Bhanot couldn’t be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.
Apart from the financial loss, the Games will also lose out on the buzz factor. The OC has copyrighted around 50 design elements unique to ‘Games 2010’. The designs have been used of several items, like scarves, coffee mugs, umbrellas, laptop covers, t-shirts, ties, key-chains, packaging papers, posters, visors and others to build awareness and excitement around the Games.
The project included various initiatives like having a website for merchandising products, opening outlets across the Games venues and stores across shopping malls, 400 schools in NCR, metro stations and the airport. The OC was expecting to earn Rs. 50 crore from merchandising.