Decoding IPL Sponsorship: Understanding Different Types in Detail - Unified Sports

Decoding IPL Sponsorship: Understanding Different Types in Detail

Sponsorship is a dynamic marketing strategy that enables brands to forge meaningful connections with their target audience while supporting various initiatives and events. In the past year, 80,000 brands invested over $60 Billion on over 160,000 sports, celebrity, athlete, entertainment, and event sponsorship deals. 

In a sponsorship arrangement, the sponsoring brand provides support financial or otherwise to the sponsored entity which could be an event, a sports team, an artist, or an organization. In return for this support, the brand gains exposure, association with the values of the sponsored entity, a unique platform to engage with its target audience, and the opportunity to get in front of new prospects, fans, or groups. In the sponsorship, there are several distinct types, each offering unique benefits and opportunities for the brands. 

So here are the different types of sponsorships in detail, including real-world examples for better understanding.

Title Sponsorship:

Title sponsorship involves the highest level of sponsorship and often includes naming rights for an event, organization, or property. The title sponsor’s name is prominently featured in the title of the sponsored entity, gaining maximum exposure and brand visibility.

 For example,

  • PepsiCo: From 2013 to 2015, PepsiCo was the Indian Premier League’s primary sponsor. At this time, the league was referred to as the “Pepsi IPL.” PepsiCo’s major engagement with the Indian Premier League demonstrated the brand’s dedication to sports and entertainment.
  • Vivo: In 2016, Vivo secured a two-year contract of INR 200 crore to serve as the IPL’s headline sponsor. After being extended for an additional five years in 2017, the agreement became one of the most costly championship sponsorships in cricket history.
  • Dream11: A fantasy sports platform called Dream11 was able to acquire the IPL’s title sponsorship rights in 2020 when Vivo withdrew due to geopolitical issues between China and India. According to reports, Dream11’s sponsorship arrangement was worth INR 358 crore.

Official Sponsorship:

Official sponsorship entails a strategic partnership between a brand and a property, event, or organization, granting the sponsor exclusive rights and privileges within a specific category. Official sponsors enjoy branding opportunities, promotional benefits, and exclusive association with the sponsored entity.

For example,

  • Paytm: Paytm has been associated with the IPL as an official sponsor. 
  • Vodafone: Vodafone has had official sponsorships in cricket, including the IPL. 
  • Amazon: Amazon has been associated with cricket through official sponsorships, including the IPL. 

Associate Sponsorship:

Associate sponsorship involves a secondary level of sponsorship that provides brands with visibility and promotional opportunities associated with a sponsored entity. While associate sponsors may not have exclusive rights, they still benefit from brand exposure and association with the sponsored property. 

  • Airtel: Airtel, a leading telecommunications company, has had associate sponsorships in cricket events like the IPL.
  • ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank, one of India’s largest private sector banks, has been an associate sponsor of the IPL.
  • Dabur: Dabur, a leading consumer goods company, has had associate sponsorships in cricket events, including the IPL.

Official Partners:

Official partners are brands that collaborate with a property, event, or organization to support specific initiatives, programs, or activities. Official partners receive branding opportunities, promotional exposure, and collaborative opportunities with the sponsored entity.

For example,

  • BCCI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) serves as the governing body for cricket in India and is often an official partner of cricket events like the IPL. 
  • Star Sports: Star Sports, a leading sports broadcaster in India, holds the broadcasting rights for the IPL and is an official partner. 
  • Fantasy Cricket Platforms: Fantasy cricket platforms have become official partners of cricket events like the IPL, leveraging the popularity of fantasy sports. 

Principal Partners:

Principal partners hold a significant position in sponsorship agreements, often serving as major financial backers or key supporters of a sponsored entity. Principal partners enjoy prominent branding, visibility, and recognition for their contributions.

For example,

  • Official Equipment Partner: Equipment partners supply cricket gear and equipment for IPL teams. Examples include SG (Sanspareils Greenlands), Adidas, and MRF (Madras Rubber Factory). 
  • Official Hospitality Partner: Hospitality partners provide premium hospitality experiences for guests attending IPL matches. Examples include Marriott International and Taj Hotels.
  • Official Food and Beverage Partner: Food and beverage partners supply refreshments and catering services at IPL venues. Examples include PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Domino’s Pizza. 

Associate Partners:

Associate partners collaborate with a sponsored entity to provide support, resources, or expertise in specific areas or initiatives. While associate partners may not have the same level of prominence as principal partners, they still play a valuable role in the sponsorship ecosystem.

 For example, 

  • Official Healthcare Partner ( Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare): Healthcare partners offer medical support and services for players.
  • Official E-commerce Partner (Flipkart, Amazon): E-commerce partners promote their platforms and offer exclusive deals to fans. 
  • Official Gaming Partner ( MPL, Mobile Premier League): Gaming partners sponsor fantasy leagues and gaming activities related to the IPL. 

Merchandise/Licensing Partners:

Merchandise or licensing partners collaborate with a property or organization to produce branded merchandise, products, or licensing agreements. These partnerships enable brands to extend their reach, generate additional revenue streams, and engage fans through branded products. 

For example, 

  • Official Jersey Partner (Adidas, Nike): Jersey partners design and produce team jerseys worn by players during IPL matches.
  • Official Cap Partner (New Era, Puma): Cap partners provide headwear featuring team logos and designs for fans.
  • Official Fan Apparel Partner (Fanatics, Under Armour): Fan apparel partners produce a wide range of clothing items, including t-shirts, hoodies, and jackets, for supporters of IPL teams.

Official Broadcast/Media Partners:

Official broadcast or media partners collaborate with a property, event, or organization to provide coverage, distribution, or broadcasting rights for media content. These partnerships ensure widespread visibility and exposure for the sponsored entity across various media platforms.

 For example,

  • Star Sports: Star Sports is the official broadcaster of the IPL, providing live coverage of matches across its network of channels. 
  • Sony Pictures Networks India: Sony Pictures Networks India has previously held broadcasting rights for the IPL, broadcasting matches on its television channels and digital platforms.
  • Disney+ Hotstar: Disney+ Hotstar is the official digital streaming partner of the IPL, offering live streaming of matches and additional content on its platform.

Kit Sponsorship:

Kit sponsorship involves brands partnering with sports teams or athletes to provide funding, apparel, or equipment in exchange for branding rights on team uniforms or kits. Kit sponsors benefit from extensive visibility and exposure during matches and events. 

For example

  • Adidas: Adidas is a renowned sportswear brand that has provided team kits for various sports teams, including football and cricket. 
  • Nike: Nike is a leading sportswear brand known for its innovative designs and high-quality apparel. 
  • Puma: Puma is a popular sportswear brand that has sponsored several cricket teams worldwide. 
Title SponsorTata Group
Associate PartnerMy11Circle, Angle One, RuPay
Official BroadcastersStar Sports
Official Digital Streaming PartnersJio Cinema
Official Strategic Timeout PartnerCEAT
Umpire PartnersPayTM
Official Orange & Purple Cap PartnerTBA
Source : Times of Sports


Sponsorship is a key component of the IPL’s success as it develops and broadens its worldwide reach, and growth, encouraging innovation, and improving the whole fan experience.

Millions of cricket fans worldwide will be inspired by the IPL and its sponsors as they write the next chapter in cricket history through smart collaborations and a shared commitment to excellence.

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