While sponsors of the Indian Premier League may have reason to be jittery, nobody can be more shaken than the corporate sponsors of Rajasthan Royals. This includes big names such as Ultratech Cement, Nissan and Tata Consultancy Services. After all, bowlers S. Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila literally wore some of the brands right on their jersey sleeves.
As the revelation sinks in, most of the team sponsors are left digesting the import of the incident — with most companies preferring to wait until investigation into the allegations is finished.
Delhi-based Kent RO Systems, a first-time associate sponsor, featured Sreesanth and Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid in its water purification brand advertisements. The company has now decided to withdraw the advertisement.
“We have taken down the ads with immediate effect since they feature Sreesanth in them. We have not given adequate thoughts to our new plans. For now, we are just taking off air the ads with players whose names have come up,” said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director of Kent RO Systems.
On withdrawing the overall sponsorship, however, Mr. Gupta said: “It is just three people who have been named. We have a very respected captain [Rahul Dravid), who also expressed his shock. At the moment nothing has been said about the management or the team as whole being involved, I don’t think team should suffer because of certain individuals.”
Other sponsors, however, remained positive and pointed out that the integrity of Rajasthan Royals as a team still remained intact. For instance, real estate player Supertech reposed its faith on Rajasthan Royals, saying it would not review its sponsorship at this point.
“It is only three players in individual capacity who have been caught in wrongdoing. The team still stands untouched and it is playing very well and in a professional manner. We have no intention at present to review our sponsorship and have full faith in the franchisee. We will continue our support for Rajasthan Royals,” said R.K Arora, Chairman, Supertech, in a statement.
Title sponsor of the IPL, PepsiCo Inc., similarly remained optimistic and expressed confidence that the BCCI would take appropriate action. “The matter is under investigation and we are confident that BCCI and the IPL Governing Council will take appropriate action. We believe in the spirit of fair play in sports and remain committed to the property,” a PepsiCo India spokesperson said.
While Nissan refused to comment, Ultratech Cement, Mahindra Pantero and Tata Consultancy Services said they had no comment at this point.