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4-min read

Moolah Matters: Why Indian Cricket Team Wears Oppo Jersey While Afghanistan Sports Amul

While Amul has signed a deal with Afghanistan’s team, which is playing only their second World Cup, Kent RO is the sponsor for 1996 champions Sri Lanka.

Zoya Mateen | News18.com

Updated:June 23, 2019, 12:36 PM IST
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Moolah Matters: Why Indian Cricket Team Wears Oppo Jersey While Afghanistan Sports Amul
While Amul has signed a deal with Afghanistan’s team, which is playing only their second World Cup, Kent RO is the sponsor for 1996 champions Sri Lanka.
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When the Indian team took the field at Rose Bowl against Afghanistan on Saturday, fans at the stadium and those watching on their TVs were waiting eagerly to see if the men in blue would finally turn out in the much-hyped orange ‘away’ jersey.

Although that did not happen, another odd aspect of the jerseys worn by Virat Kohli and his side, as well as the Afghanistan team stood out: while the striking azure of Indian team’s jersey bore the logo of OPPO, Afghanistan, the land where cricket is born out of exodus and conflict was wearing Amul on their sleeves.

Oppo, a Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communications company, is the official sponsor of the Indian team, having acquired the sponsorship rights for a five-year period starting April 1, 2017. This means the brand will continue sponsoring the team till 2022. Reportedly, OPPO Mobiles will pay Rs 1079 crore for the duration of their contract.

Loyalists of the game, hawk-eyed as ever were left scratching their heads at this observation. And turns out that Amul, India’s largest dairy brand, is not the only one that seems to have ‘switched sides’ here.

While Amul has signed a deal with Afghanistan’s team, which is playing only their second World Cup, Kent RO is the sponsor for 1996 champions Sri Lanka.

It’s wilder still, because this is the third time that Amul is sponsoring a cricket team in the World Cup – and has still not chosen India even once. It never has. In the past, the company was associated with New Zealand and Holland.

Needless to say, fans are baffled and are dying to solve the mystery behind this unconventional route for marketing taken by two leading Indian brands. Some passionate ones, who are finding it a bit too hard to swallow, are dubbing the whole thing as a breach of faith.

"Indian players are wearing OPPO, a Chinese phone company, logo. Afghan are wearing Amul, India’s best-loved brand! Just saying!" one such fan tweeted.

Why is it that two of India’s most famous brands, Amul and Kent RO Systems, have sponsored Afghanistan and Sri Lanka cricket teams respectively, while Indian Jersey flashes Chinese brand Oppo?

Of the 10 participants this year, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are the two lowest-ranked sides and are unlikely to go far in this tournament. This applies more to Afghanistan, the team which is still at its nascent stage of World Cup career with not much history to offer. So, what’s the logic behind these brand associations?

Earlier this year, as part of a strategic move to expand into the international market, Kent RO Systems Limited emerged as the principal sponsor for the Sri Lanka Cricket Team for the ongoing championship.

Would it not have made better sense for Amul and Kent RO to associate with the ICC or the official broadcaster, Star Sports, as advertising partners?

The devil lies in the details. The idea is to cash in on sponsorship and viewership in the optimum manner possible. Considering that the World Cup this time has a round-robin format, it means all 10 teams will play each other at least once. The top four teams after the round-robin stage will progress to the semi-finals.

This also means Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will play a minimum of nine matches each in the tournament.

Bigger still, is that both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka faced India. Of the billion cricket fans around the world, 90% come from the Indian subcontinent, according to ICC’s research done last year. The numbers speak for itself here.

What this means is that, Amul and Kent’s decisions primarily ride on the principle of visibility.

The deal is also way more cheaper and economical for the companies as Amul and Kent RO end up paying far lesser than brands advertising on Star Sports. According to a report in Quartz, the official broadcaster is reportedly asking for up to Rs7 lakh for a 10-second ad spot during the matches.

If you consider a brand buying 10 such ad-spots during a match—the number is likely to be much higher for games featuring India—it would end up paying Rs70 lakh. And that’s just for one match.

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