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Sponsorships Take to the Pitch During the Cricket World Cup 2023

November 15, 2023

The Cricket World Cup 2023 Final—which will take place on November 19th at the 132,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India—is set to captivate millions of cricket fans worldwide this weekend. Beyond the gripping on-field action over the last six weeks, this year’s tournament has been a banner one for innovative sponsorships, creating a unique and immersive experience for cricketers everywhere.

At the World Cup opening ceremony on October 6th, beverage behemoth and tournament sponsor, Coca-Cola India, unveiled that the national flags of the 10 participating nations and 1 InternationalCricket Council (ICC) unity flag are made from yarn produced from recycled PET bottles. With this initiative, Coca-Cola India became the first company in the world to introduce recycled PET national flags in cricket—underscoring the brand's commitment to sustainability and setting a precedent for future events. Multinational logistics giant DP World, the ICC’s Official Global Logistic Partner since June of this year, is helping to grow the sport at the grassroots level with its “Beyond Boundaries” program, announced last month. Leveraging its global logistics network, the company will deliver 50 shipping containers full of 250 kits to local teams in need around the world, beginning with three clubs in India.The program has been promoted during match broadcasts throughout the tournament: for every 100 runs scored, DP World donates 10 more kits to nurture young talent.

Meanwhile, Limca Sportz—the World Cup’s Official Sports Drink—has deftly integrated itself into the player experience with the Rehydration Cam, providing fans with never-before-seen views of the cooling break. The Cam has a “rehydration meter” that displays how much players’ hydration levels improve once they have their Limca Sportz. UNICEF's "One Day 4 Children" initiative, held on November 2nd during India’s match against Sri Lanka, saw Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium illuminated in blue, as fans in attendance received an LED wristband that was synched with a stadium-wide blue light show during the second innings, to champion equality for children around the world. The match followed the launch of Criiio 4 Good, a new online, life-skills learning initiative developed by the ICC and UNICEF, aimed at promoting gender equity among girls and boys.

Mastercard, a World Cup 2023 Global Partner, is making its mark on the tournament with plenty of signature “priceless” moments for fans, including the “Beyond The Boundary Experience”: two Mastercard cardholders get to watch the two teams taking part in the national anthem from the boundary, and receive VIP match tickets along with a chance to take a selfie with the coveted World Cup trophy. As another Global Partner, IndusInd Bank is raising its profile with its “Anthem Companion” initiative, in which select customers and employees have a chance for their children to participate in the teams’ walk out onto the field for the national anthems before the match.

On the player front, Virat Kohli has emerged as both the tournament’s leading run-scorer, and one of the most followed athletes worldwide: his 263M Instagram followers elevate him to the platform’s most rarefied ranks, behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Kohli’s 34 endorsement deals across 19 categories—with brands including MRF Tyres, FanCraze, and StarSports, all of which are also World Cup 2023 sponsors—underscore his incredible popularity. Other World Cup sponsors like, Emirates, Thums Up, Royal Stag, and Dream11 have also inked endorsement deals with current players in the tournament—like Rohit Sharma, who partners with all of them—creating a symbiotic relationship between the tournament and individual player brands. 

Besides teams’ long-term deals with prominent sponsors—Australia partners with Qantas, Marsh, KFC, ASICS, and Toyota, while Pakistan has a deal with Pepsi—each team’s unique kit supplier reflects a rich sponsorship tapestry in the cricketing world: India’s is adidas, England’s is Castore, and New Zealand’s is Canterbury, to name just a few. 

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