Mumbai City FC's sponsorship amount up by 50 %

MUMBAI: The fourth edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is all set to kick-off in a day. From this year, ISL has moved from a three-month season to five months.

Last year’s semi-finalist Mumbai City FC has upped the ante on its marketing and sponsorship this year. Talking to Mumbai City FC CEO Indranil Das Blah says, “Sponsorship has been significantly better than the last three seasons. We sold our entire inventory and the sponsorship amounts have been increased by 50 per cent compared to last year. Mumbai City FC has added a whole bunch of new sponsors this season.”

A close industry source informed that the teams in the smaller markets have a sponsorship range of Rs 50-60 million and the teams in big markets including Kerala, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata have a sponsorship range of Rs 120-150 million.

The title sponsor for Mumbai City FC is Ace Group since three years, back sponsor is Spicejet and on the right chest the jersey has OkSir, one of Indias advanced app-based service aggregators. The team is expecting to close four other sponsors. It is planning to increase sponsor list through licensing deals that will not be on the jerseys.

Mumbai City FC is planning to go with outdoor and digital marketing this season. “We are concentrating a lot on digital marketing because our young audience spends more time on internet than on TV. For football, digital will be of paramount importance.  Our marketing is not focused towards generating revenue but to improve the Mumbai City FC brand,” says Blah.

Globally, merchandising plays an important role in contributing to revenue. A report by Transparency Market research pegs the global licensed sports merchandise market to rise at a 6.2 per cent CAGR from 217-2025. It will hit a value of $49.6 billion by then from $29.26 in 2016. But the Indian market is yet to involve and overcome barriers like price sensitivity and piracy.

This season, the team will increase fan engagement activities. Despite Mumbai’s propensity to pay more, the stadium tickets have been kept affordable so that students and children can come to watch the games. This season, Mumbai FC has launched a loyalty programme too. This apart, meet and greet with team members, contests and access to training sessions are on the anvil.

The state of Indian sports being cricket-centric five years ago has today paved way for many others. “Today we can see more non-cricketing events doing well like football and kabaddi. Badminton, as a sport, is growing. Brands, sponsors, people in the federation and fans understand the development of the ecosystem. Globally, Brazil and India are the only two developed markets with one sport focus, football and cricket respectively,” says Blah.

This year’s ISL has 10 teams with the first game between Kerala Blasters FC and defending champions Atletico de Kolkata, which is now called just ATK.  The latter surprisingly has no major sponsor.

Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Goa FC club ownerships are backed by their own business entities. Jamshedpur FC is backed by Tata Steel (title sponsors), Tata Trust and Tata Motors. Bengaluru FC owners JSW have yet again retained the title, with Puma being the main associate. FC Goa is backed by Deltin Hotels, Goa. The hospitality group sponsorship brand owner Jaidev Mukund Modi is a 65 per cent stakeholder in the club.

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