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Indian tyre brand buys Coupe de Ligue title rights

Indian tyre company BKT has become title partner of French club football’s leading cup competition, the Coupe de la Ligue, for the next six seasons from 2018-2019 to 2023-24.

From this season’s round of 32, the knock-out competition will become the ‘Coupe de la Ligue BKT’ in a deal valued by French sports title L’Equipe at around €3m per year.

BKT specializes in tyres for machinery and equipment used in agriculture, earthworks, mining, industrial, port, gardening and small off-road equipment.

It is a new entrant to the French sponsorship market, but recently made a similar deal in the Italian market as title sponsor of Italy’s second-tier football championship, Serie B.

International development is a priority for the league, said LFP executive director general Didier Quillot. “The partnership with BKT offers a unique opportunity to establish links with the Indian economic world,” he said. “This is the first time that an Indian company has invested significantly in football. With the help of BKT, we hope to make the Ligue 1 Conforama better known to Indian broadcasters.”

The league now has two major title sponsors – furniture chain Conforama is title sponsor of Ligue 1 in a deal worth around €9m per season.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.