Bangalore: They've braved expulsion, multiple court cases and, for one of them, a diminished salary cap just to participate in the 2011 IPL. Despite all those question marks, though, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab wear their success literally on their sleeve - and all over their jerseys - in the form of various sponsors' logos. It's a show of market faith in both the franchises and also highlights the powerful lure of the IPL for advertisers.
In Rajasthan's case, the number of sponsors and partners has grown from 10 last season to 16; the new sponsors include the main sponsors the Floriana Group, with interests in manufacturing, retailing, personal care and education. Innovation came via a deal with Barista, the popular coffee house chain, who will offer Royals-themed drinks for the duration of the tournament. "They have all shown confidence [in us]," Raghu Iyer, the franchise's marketing director, told ESPNcricinfo.
It wasn't easy during the seemingly endless procession of court cases, said Arvinder Singh, Punjab's chief operating officer; there were some anxious moments for everyone involved. "Of course we were concerned. Why won't anyone be concerned? [It was] one thing after the other after the other." This season the team has 12 sponsors and partners, down one from 13 in 2010, but their main sponsors, led by Emirates and Carlsberg, have stuck by them. "It's heartening to see that six of our partners who were with us earlier have continued to believe in us," Singh said. "We must be doing something right."