IPL team, Kings XI Punjab, are a bunch of bashful guys and their new sponsor — a leading condom brand — has them fighting shy of wearing the team jersey.
The Punjab franchise on Tuesday evening, the eve of the inaugural game of the Indian Premier League Season 8, struck a last-minute sponsorship deal with Manforce, a product of New Delhi-based Mankind pharma.
“Manforce will figure on the back of the jerseys along with our other main sponsor Tata Prime,” team co-owner Mohit Burman said.
As the players were handed their red and silver team shirts, there were some blushes.
“I don’t know what to say, my family will be watching and it’s an embarrassing situation. Also, friends are bound to tease us,” a player said on condition of anonymity. The team plays its first game on April 10 against Rajasthan Royals.
There are no rules barring contraceptive firms from sponsoring an IPL team but the Punjab deal is the first of its kind.
“We have seen such products (male contraceptives) being advertised on TV during matches, but we don’t have guidelines that limit a franchise from getting one as a team sponsor,” said Rajeev Shukla, the IPL governing council chairman.
The owners see the deal as pointer to the team’s popularity. George Bailey’s boys will have 20 sponsors backing them this season.
Mankind, too, is all padded up. It is the first time that the Delhi firm has tied up with a sporting team.
“The sheer volume of male viewers, who are our target group, made a lot of business sense for creating strong brand awareness around Manforce,” Eshita, assistant product manager, Mankind, said.
Looks like Punjab boys will have to grin and wear it.