Subpar on-field performance, match-fixing investigations and issues with the Maitland Place headquarters appear to have impacted severely on one of Sri Lanka's top brands--cricket.
The team has attracted just one sponsor for the forthcoming World Cup in England.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) called for Expression of Interest in February, setting a minimum base value of US$ 200,000—approximately Rs.35 million—to sponsor the national team’s campaign but many have deserted a team that has been heavily scrutinised on and off-field.
The rights were finally sold to Kent RO Systems, an India-based company manufacturing water purifying systems, for US$ 5000 more than the base price mentioned in the bid document, a highly-placed SLC source confirmed.
“I guess the team recent performances have had a major impact in attracting a buyers for sponsorship rights,” said a senior SLC official.
“But something is better than nothing isn’t it?”
Advertisers say their appetite for cricket-related advertising has waned owning to a combination factors, including the economic slowdown and issues within the Board and the team.
The new partnerships will allow Kent RO System to carry their commercial logo on player jerseys during the World Cup which includes a minimum of nine limited-over internationals.
Dialog Axiata—a Malaysian owned Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunication operator— was national team’s sponsor for several years but has shown no interest in buying the team rights for the World Cup.
Their three-year team sponsorship also comes to an end at the end of the World Cup which means the Board will need a new national team sponsor for the next three-year cycle.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the sponsor and new team kit for the World Cup, SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva thanked the principal sponsor for coming forward at this difficult time.
Quoting John F Kennedy, he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”.
De Silva wished the team luck and called on them to give the World Cup their best shot.
A representative from Kent RO said that they are proud to be associated with the Sri Lanka team which has fared well at ICC events.
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