No more BYJU’s on Indian cricketers’ shirts? As per media reports BYJU's is looking at walking out of the jersey sponsorship deal with BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). The ed-tech major has reportedly written to the cricket administrative body expressing their desire to end their recently renewed jersey sponsorship deal.
BYJU’s took over the Indian jerseys in 2019 through a tripartite deal. The jersey sponsorship was with Chinese smartphone maker OPPO before that. OPPO ended its deal mid-term with the BCCI. BYJU’s sponsorship deal was again renewed for a fresh term of 18 months earlier this year at 10 percent premium.
BYJU's has been making a big splash when it comes to sports. Especially cricket. After taking over from OPPO as jersey sponsors with BCCI, the company also signed a deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2021 for a period of 3 years as the global partner. The deal was said to be valued at upwards of Rs120 crore.
The edtech player's interest in sports however has not been limited to cricket only. In March, this year, FIFA announced that the startup would be their official sponsor for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
To leverage the deal with FIFA and amplify engagement, BYJU's even went to the extent of getting Lionel Messi on board as its first global brand ambassador of its social impact arm ‘Education For All’. The announcement came at a time when the company was in the midst of mass layoffs. On one hand, BYJU’s founders were writing apology letters to the five percent of their workforce that were handed pink slips and on the other they were making headlines for paying Messi anywhere between $5-7 million per year to be the brand ambassador.
Is pulling the plug on India’s jersey sponsorship the beginning of BYJU’s fading interest in cricket? Given their deal with ICC also comes to an end in 2023 and the huge investment they made in FIFA followed by roping in Messi might be the first step taken by the brand to support a more global sport. Or, it might simply be an effort in the direction of rationalizing spending.
Storyboard18 has reached out to BYJU's and we'll update the article with the company's response.