Umbro Middle East, the middle east division of the English sports equipment manufacturer, had forged a partnership with the DP World International League T20 (IT20) team, Desert Vipers. In this development, Umbro Middle East was named the official apparel partner by the team for the inaugural season of the competition. In addition, the branding of the logo has been featured on the non-leading arm of the jersey. Umbro was founded in 1924 and is marketed in more than 100 countries with over 300 employees.
SportsMint Media got in touch with the Head of Brand at Umbro Middle East, Tom Fonti Grzelak, who revealed that the Indian demographic is key to Umbro’s growth in the region. From Avram Glazer to marketing assets to the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mr. Tom went on to touch upon several different topics while speaking about Umbro Middle East’s partnership with Desert Vipers.
1. What was the thought process behind partnering with a brand new team competing in a brand new competition?
At the end of 2021, the American businessman Avram Glazer acquired one of the six franchises for a planned T20 cricket tournament in the UAE, via his company, Lancer Capital. It was the latest sporting asset for a family with significant interests in American football and England’s Premier League.
2. What are Umbro Middle East’s expectations from this association?
To establish a relationship with Desert Vipers and to leverage each other’s strengths. Umbro can offer a wide reach in the middle east through its retail network. Desert Vipers can offer Umbro entry to the sport of Cricket.
3. Is this agreement with Desert Vipers a step towards venturing into cricket sponsorship?
Cricket is one of the biggest sports in the GCC and as a sports brand, Umbro definitely wants to be a part of that community.
4. What are the differences between sponsoring a sports team in Europe and Asia?
European assets are more strict in regard to contractual rights while assets in the Middle East are more flexible to capture opportunities. Our partnership with Desert Vipers is a great example of 2 brands utilizing common opportunities on the run. One example is that with very short timelines we enabled fans of the team to buy the Desert Vipers match and training kits in Umbro’s flagship store in Dubai Hills Mall.
5. Could you please elaborate on the procedure followed by Umbro Middle East while securing this partnership?
The partnership was made on a global level and Umbro Middle East has been aligning with Desert Vipers on the executional aspects of the agreement.
6. Does ILT20 have the potential to be as massive as the IPL?
The tournament needs time to grow in awareness but Dubai has a strong track record in building world-known events and we are sure that this will qualify to be one of those in a few years.
7. Is the attention from the Indian audience benefitting Umbro Middle East?
The Indian demographic is key for Umbro’s growth in the region and investing in the partnership with Desert Vipers is one of the channels to create mutual affinity.