Mastercard replaces BharatPe as global sponsor of ICC – Reports

The sponsorship pact between Mastercard and ICC is a multi-year arrangement.

The American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard has reportedly replaced BharatPe as the global sponsor of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

For the past year, Mastercard has been aiming to bag some lucrative sponsorship deals as it also secured title sponsorship rights of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) international and domestic home fixtures from Paytm.

The financial services entity also submitted its interest in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before the 2022 edition but failed to obtain an association as RuPay took over the category.

ICC primarily helms a three-year sponsorship and its partnership with BharatPe was kicked off on June 7, 2021, which will go on till the end of 2023. This association included all ICC events between World Test Championship 2021 and ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023. BharatPe leveraged the collaboration to promote its buy now pay later brand, postpe in all the ICC events covered in the pact. As per sources, BharatPe blocked the sponsorship category of banking and wallet.

Things have gone south for BharatPe in the past year and the brand had been wanting to conclude this association with the international cricket governing body to lower its advertising costs.

Mastercard is a like-for-like replacement for BharatPe and according to SportsMint’s sources, the American company has already secured a deal with the ICC to replace the New Delhi-based entity. The sponsorship pact between ICC and Mastercard is a multi-year arrangement and will cover the upcoming four years.

This lucrative agreement will enable Mastercard to receive high-visibility broadcast signage such as the 3D representation of the company’s logo on the field itself and branding on the LED advertising boards near the boundary rope. Mastercard will also receive the privilege of in-venue brand activation along with an opportunity of creating premium experiences for their customers to enjoy the upcoming ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 in India.

ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023:

The highly anticipated and most prestigious competition in the game of cricket, the ODI World Cup is just around the corner. The ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, which will be hosted by India, is likely to be played between October 5 – November 19, 2023. The Indian cricket board has reportedly finalised 11 Indian cities for the tournament with the final set to be played at the largest cricket stadium, Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The first game will be reportedly played between England and New Zealand. The entire competition will feature a total of 48 matches in 46 days with 10 teams fighting it out for the ultimate prize in world cricket.

The high-voltage fixture between India and its arch-rival Pakistan is likely to be played in Ahmedabad on October 15. Pakistan’s games in the tournament will take place in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Change of hands in sponsorship pacts:

The sports business industry has been going through a lean patch since IPL 2022. Before the commencement of the ongoing season of the cash-rich Indian league, three brands were finding their way to conclude their respective associations and two of the companies managed to transfer the rights. Swiggy and Unacademy reassigned their rights to Herbalife Nutrition and Saudi Tourism, respectively. While, on the other end, Upstox is yet to find a replacement.

The ICC is also going through the same phase as the BCCI as Nissan, Upstox, OPPO and BharatPe are looking to conclude the ICC sponsorship cycle prematurely. Out of the four companies, ICC has successfully managed to secure a replacement for BharatPe in the form of Mastercard and will be looking for the same for the remaining three companies.

However, ICC shouldn’t find it difficult to find three new partners as the ODI World Cup 2023 is just a few months away. Considering the popularity and stature of the 50-over World Cup, brands are likely to approach the ICC to fill in for the remaining sponsorship spots. The apex cricket governing body will be aiming to rope in brands in a multi-year deal to onboard the companies into the ICC ecosystem.

The big headache for the ICC will be to find replacements for the companies who are willing to invest lucrative sponsorship values which the VC-backed startups could afford to pay. On the other end, traditional and well-established companies will be more conservative and cautious in nature and will look to invest in a sustainable manner to get the best return on the investment.

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