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Bira signs up five-year sponsorship deal with ICC

One of the world's fastest growing craft beer brands, Bira 91 is now the official sponsor of the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup, ICC World Test Championship, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and the ICC Women's Championship.

Bira signs up five-year sponsorship deal with ICC

The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday announced that it has signed a five-year agreement with Indian beverage brand B9 Beverages, the maker of Bira 91 beer. One of the world's fastest growing craft beer brands, Bira 91 is now the official sponsor of the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup, ICC World Test Championship, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and the ICC Women's Championship.

"This is the brand's first foray into sports. As an official partner, Bira 91 will integrate the partnership across broadcast and digital platforms, and in-venue activations at all ICC events through their range of products," ICC said in a statement.

Citing sports marketing experts, Mint reported that the size of Bira 91's sponsorship deal could be $5-6 million per year. However, ICC's global partners, such as carmaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, smartphone maker Oppo Co. Ltd, MRF Tyres Ltd and Emirates Airlines are estimated to be paying between $6-8 million a year.

"The ICC partnership is a key moment for Bira 91 as we embark on creating the first global consumer brand to come out of India. A generational "change of guard" in beer is underway as consumers shift towards beers with more colour and flavour," said Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of B9 Beverages. "World cricket is undergoing a similar generational change as it expands to more dynamic formats, newer geographies and consumers. We are excited to be part of the 'greatest celebrations of cricket' on the international stage."

There is no bigger platform than cricket in India and with the country readying to host two big-ticket events, the T20 World Cup 2021 and the Cricket World Cup two years thereafter, the Bira 91 brand stands to benefit immensely from this partnership. But more immediately, Bira is set to leverage the upcoming ICC World Cup scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales next year.

"Everything we are doing right now, whether partnerships or expansion, are aligned to the strategic goal of filing an IPO by 2023. It will also be a great launch platform for the UK market which we plan to announce in the first half of 2019," Jain told the daily.

The company certainly has the funds to bankroll the expansion, given that it raised $50 million in a fresh round of funding from Brussels-based investment firm Sofina in May. Besides India, it has expanded internationally to the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, and is looking to foray into Vietnam soon. The three-year-old company also said that it expects to expand its production footprint five-fold - from 350,000 barrels now to two million barrels - before next summer.

According to Campbell Jamieson, general manager (commercial) at ICC, the council is looking at making the game of cricket more relevant for younger and new spectators, including women, by aligning with new-age brands like Bira 91. "As we started negotiating the agreement with Bira 91, the natural overlaps in their ambitions and ours became obvious. Cricket has more than one billion adult fans and is a natural partner for this ambitious brand," Jamieson added.

ICC has also signed on fintech firm Moneygram as its event partner, Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot as its timing partner and Australian wine brand Wolf Blass as the official wine partner.

Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal

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