With IPL, have the Tatas finally found the right vehicle after all these years?

17 Jan,2022

Photograph source: IPLT20.com



By Avik Chattopadhyay


Avik ChattopadhyayNew terminology at IPL…

Fours and sixes – Tata Assault

A quick single – Tata Steal

Strategic timeouts – Tata Consultancy Time

Wicket – Tata Bye-Bye

Man of the Match – Match ka Ratan


So goes one of the many WhatsApp messages since BCCI announced that Tata will be the title sponsor of IPL from next season. There is a GIF too being circulated done by someone called Outcry Entertainment which shows the batsman in the IPL logo whacking Vivo out and the Tata logo emerges to the signature tune!


This is certainly big news, beyond just the world of sports as India’s “most trusted” corporate brand chooses to play tag-team with India’s biggest sporting brand. What would have made this happen?


After Galwan and Doklam, BCCI needed a non-Chinese brand to be the title sponsor for its marquee annual entertainment event. The optics were not good for the government and BCCI. Here you have skirmishes every month, chest-puffing galore and even the 14th round of talks breaking down while there you have a Chinese brand sitting proudly on the IPL trophy. Terrible paradox! It had to change. Dream 11 did not apparently have the shareholders’ nod to carry on with such spending beyond a year. The solution had to be more sustainable. Adani and Ambani are not the best brands to reach out to if you do not wish the opposition to have a field day. So, what are you left with? The Tata brand. You have returned Air-India to it. You have awarded it the Central Vista contract. Over the last few years, it has been cosying up to you for a significant pie of ‘Atmanibhar Bharat’. The brand is the talisman of trust and respect. Nobody will ever raise a finger at you.


For the Tata brand wanting to appeal to the digital WFH generation, IPL is a terrific platform to ride. Given its forays into more D2C businesses like BigBasket, 1mg and Cliq, it can get a hold on the Indian family sitting in front of television watching their superstars create magic. Non-metro India can be reached even better on the mobile phone through the IPL platform. The brand wants to markedly shun its image of being big and bulky and behave young and connected. Also reach out to the diaspora who celebrate their biggest annual festival in IPL. The brand has had a long association with sports in general, having invested in football [TFA and FC Jamshedpur], archery, marathons, Formula 1 and a few more. One cannot forget the fact that one end of Wankhede Stadium was called the Tata End. Only that given the stature of the brand, I would have expected them to go more grassroots in sport development rather than join a filthy rich sport and make it richer!


This looks like a win-win.

BCCI has saved itself the blushes and finally turned nationalistic.

Tata might have finally found the right vehicle after all these years!



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