Losing turf to multi-national companies (MNCs) such as Adidas, Nike, MRF, Reebok etc, which engage stars of Indian and international cricket for brand promotion, city-based bat manufacturers have found the Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 5, beginning on Wednesday, a platform to market their wares. “We have approached as many as ten budding players in the IPL this year. Seven have signed the pact to endorse our brand,” said the MD of FC Sondhi and Company Rajeev Anurag Sondhi.
“Our brand, the ‘PROTOS’, would get national and international recognition over the two-month tournament," Sondhi said. He added that apart from bats, the company would provide players with all necessary ‘PROTOS’ equipment, including coloured-pads and gloves etc.
Sondhi said Anirudha Srikkanth (Chennai Super Kings), Aditya Tare (Mumbai Indians), Pinal Shah (Rajasthan Royals), Ramesh Power (Kings XI Punjab, Sachin Rana (Pune Warriors) and Sunny Sohail (Deccan Chargers) would play with the brand ‘PROTOS’) in the IPL.
Sondhi refused to divulge the details of endorsement money paid to the players. On why no international players were roped in, Sondhi said that the company was a supplier in the domestic market and wanted to expand here first. VVS Laxman and Amit Mishra endorse the brand. Bat maker Beat All Sports (BAS) has signed 12 players in the IPL, including some foreign players for the promotion of its brand BAS.
BAS director Ramesh Chander Kohli, which has manufactured bats for Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh, said: “Around a dozen players, most of them foreign, will sport the BAS brand in IPL 5 beginning April 4.”.
Virat Kohli, Rahul Sharma, Mandeep Singh (duo hails from Jalandhar) and international players like Hashim Amla, Robin Pietersen and Darren Sammy would play with a BAS kit.
Spartan, which has emerged as leading brand, after signing Australian batsman Michael Clarke and West Indian striker Chris Gayle, would also mark its presence as Gayle will play. Well-known Indian players sport logos of big multi-national companies who sponsor them.
Even as many of these bats and accessories are made by smaller companies — especially by MSMEs in Jalandhar — these enterprises remain unknown as they lack funds to pay large sums to cricketers as sponsorship fees.