Samsung bet on this team in the $6.3 billion Indian Premier League-- and it has paid off again
- Smartphone maker Samsung is the title sponsor for the 2019 IPL finalist Mumbai Indians.
- The franchise from India's financial capital has reached the final for the fifth time in 12 years.
- The South Korean company renewed its contract with the team owned by Mukesh Ambani's RIL in February this year.
Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will fight each other for the fourth time in 12 years for the coveted Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy and the winner's prize money of ₹20 crore ($3 million). No matter what the result of this fixture, smartphone maker Samsung is laughing away to the bank.
The longer a team lasts in a tournament, more the visibility for the sponsors. Therefore, those associated with the top two teams get to extract maximum value. The Mumbai Indians' jersey sports the Samsung logo in the front and that of a television network Colors on the back.
And there is huge viewership at stake in the IPL. In the first two weeks of this year's edition, 345 million people watched the matches on television and 267 million people watched matches on digital platforms in the first three weeks.
In the battle for eyeballs, Samsung has already won a jackpot. The South Korean giant started backing Mumbai Indians in 2016 and since then, the team has won the tournament once and has a second shot at it today (May 12). In the twelve years of IPL's ever-increasing glitz, Mumbai Indians have ended up in the finals five times.
Aside from winning the league final in 2013, 2015, and 2017, the team also won the 2011 and 2013 editions of the Champions League Twenty20. In 2018, a New York-based consulting firm, Duff and Phelps, report pegged the franchise as the most valued one, at $113 million, in the $6.3 billion IPL ecosystem.
The company renewed its ‘lead sponsorship’ contract with the team, which is owned by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries, for a period of three years in February 2019. This will involve a payment of ₹25 crore every year, a 10% increase from the 2016 contract, according to The Economic Times. "Samsung and Mumbai Indians have a lot of similarities as a brand. Both brands are consistent and are very visible," said Mr. Ranjivjit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Samsung India.
Facing Mumbai Indians is another much-cherished franchise, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the country's biggest sports icons of all time. The team has been in the finals eight out of the 10 times that it has played the tournament and won it thrice. CSK was banned from the IPL for 2016 and 2017 after a illegal betting and match fixing probe.
However, head to head with Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings has lost twice in the IPL finals. That gives Samsung an edge over The Muthoot Group, which is the title sponsor for CSK. Despite the controversies that have dogged CSK, the brand was in the top three after Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders after the 2018 edition.
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