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Will Alcohol Companies Retain IPL Sponsorships in the Future?

Will Alcohol Companies Retain IPL Sponsorships in the Future?

There is no doubt that the IPL is the most profitable cricket tournament in the world. The most popular championship in India enjoys luxury sponsorship deals, including those from alcohol companies, but what will happen next? Recently, a number of controversies have emerged in relation to the alcohol producers sponsoring the IPL teams.

Why can’t Australian IPL players advertise alcohol?

It all started with Cricket Australia (CA) banning Australian players from advertising betting, fast food, alcohol and tobacco brands during the Indian Premier League (IPL). It was later confirmed that the CA conditions are part of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for all foreign leagues, including the IPL, and have been in place for a long time. 

CA and Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) have further agreed to restrict the commercial interests of the players and the sponsors. A recent recommendation from CA has prohibited a full team photo for sponsored use in case any player featured logos of alcohol, tobacco, fast food or betting. 

Many business representatives have wondered why the BCCI (The Board of Control for Cricket in India) should refuse support from the main sponsors, such as betting and liquor companies. They have argued that there is no official trade in alcohol, betting and tobacco products in India, hence such sponsorship deals do not pose any harm. 

Will Moeen Ali set an anti-alcohol precedent for Muslim players?

The situation has changed with the recent precedent involving Indian cricket star Moeen Ali who refused to show the logo of an alcohol brand on his jersey on religious grounds. Indeed, Islam forbids the consumption or promotion of alcohol. 

At present, there are many Muslims in almost every team in the league, and it has become the norm for the franchise to satisfy such requests. Other well-known international cricketers who have refused to promote alcohol include Pakistani cricketers Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, Imad Wasim and Fahim Ashraf, as well as Afghan Rashid Khan. 

Do alcohol sponsors face a grim future with their IPL deals?

With these recent developments, we expect that alcohol sponsorship might suffer further blows in future.  It seems that the conditions for participation in IPL advertising campaigns will be tightened. 

Although there is no official trade in alcohol products in India, there are practicing Muslims in the IPL who will definitely refuse to participate in alcohol advertising at some point. Besides, the Australian board is likely to continue indirectly limiting other leagues in terms of advertising campaigns. Hence, we expect that alcohol companies might face further difficulties in maintaining their  IPL sponsorship deals in the future.

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