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IPL: Chennai Super Kings sewing up sponsorship deals
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After snapping up players at record prices at the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is now sewing up sponsorship and merchandising deals with brands such as PepsiCo, Wrigleys, Cafe Coffee Day, Johnson & Johnson and Camlin.

The Chennai IPL team earned close to Rs 20 crore through sponsorships last year and expects to notch up a much higher figure this time. Last year, its highest sponsor was worth Rs 15 crore, the lowest was worth Rs 3 lakh.

While last year's sponsors Aircel, Peter England and Reebok will continue this year too, the team has tied up with more brands. While Pepsi is the beverage sponsor, the others have co-branded product and merchandising deals. On the merchandising front, apart from stationery company Camlin, CSK is also in discussions with a leading retail chain for a complete range of products.

"The fees will be higher for onfield sponsors like Aircel, PepsiCo, Reebok etc., as compared to merchandising and license fee charges," said Rakesh Singh, vice-president, marketing, India Cements, which owns the CSK franchisee. He declined to put a value to the endorsements this year, citing confidentiality clauses.

"We can't disclose that at this stage. The Pepsi contract is valid for three years and it will be our on-field beverage sponsor. The one with the retail chain and Camlin will be yearly ones and will purely be merchandising contracts, where they would sell CSK range of products through their outlets," Singh added.

This time, the company plans more activities with its fan base rather than with star ambassadors as it had last year.

"While we had ambassadors from the film world last season, this time around all our branding and promotion exercise will involve the fans. The focus will be on revenue generating promotion exercises, so we would have reality shows and merchandising activities," said Singh.

Team CSK broke even in the first year, thanks to satellite rights and sponsorships. It sees no problem this time around, despite the economic slowdown, as it believes that interest in cricket or TV hasn't sapped. In addition, CSK has some high-profile players on its side and was the runners-up in the inaugural edition.

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