PepsiCo seeking exit strategy from IPL title sponsorship

The Indian Premier League is set to have a new title sponsor next season with US multinational food and beverage corporation PepsiCo keen to end its current deal with the Twenty20 cricket competition, according to multiple reports.

PepsiCo secured the title sponsorship rights to the IPL in November 2012 under a five-year deal covering the 2013 to 2017 seasons worth $72.5m (€64.5m).

PepsiCo is said to be seeking to end its deal early in the wake of the ongoing controversy surrounding the IPL’s 2013 spot-fixing scandal. A panel established by India’s Supreme Court in July recommended the suspension of leading IPL franchises the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for a period of two years and the fallout from that verdict is still being handled by league officials and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla told the Press Trust of India news agency that the Pepsi deal is “not a big issue” adding the BCCI is in talks with other sponsors as well to settle the issue “amicably”.

Shukla said: “We are in talks with other sponsors as well, so the title deal with Pepsi is not that big an issue. They have certain points and we are going to settle them amicably in the next meeting. They have been a very good partner all this while and we do not want to disturb our relationship with them. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen in a very smooth manner.”

Sources in the IPL and BCCI confirmed to the Indian Express newspaper that PepsiCo has decided to cut its ties with the IPL.

“Last season, Pepsi wanted to withdraw, especially in the aftermath of the spot-fixing case but the BCCI managed to convince it to stick on for another year,” an IPL source said, according to the newspaper. “However, this time it was firm that it will not continue its association with the IPL, more so after the Lodha Committee recommended the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.”

Amid the reports, the two parties issued a joint statement today (Friday). The statement read: “BCCI and PepsiCo have had a longstanding cordial relationship and have been in discussions to work out a solution which addresses PepsiCo's concerns. Both parties will share it when ready.”

The BCCI is set to discuss the matter during its working committee meeting in Mumbai on October 18.