What's the Story
Ahead of their first I-League match of the season, East Bengal FC have received a huge boost with regard to sponsorship. To be precise, the club has struck a deal with Italian sportswear brand PERF. The duration of the contract is expected to last for around three seasons.
In Case You Didn't Know
The Italian company has extended its reach in the US, Europe, Canada, and UK. Now their eyes are trained towards India, particularly East Bengal.
The Heart of the Matter
The brand's strategy will be to launch in metro cities first. This will be followed by expansion into tier I and II cities. They have decided to lure the Indian market through football by having their logo emblazoned on the shirt of a club of East Bengal's calibre. PERF believes that this strategy will attract Indian customers.
Previously, East Bengal's official kit sponsor was Shiv Naresh. That contract ran from 2013 to 2017. Sources close to the club said that Shiv Naresh made no attempt to extend their deal with East Bengal.
East Bengal are not the only club in financial trouble. Many of the I-League clubs have had difficulty with finding sponsorship deals. The Red and Golds are hunting for their maiden I-League title and additional finances will provide a huge impetus. With a sponsor like PERF backing them, East Bengal will have the financial strength to go toe-to-toe with the ISL teams if the merger between the ISL and the I-League happens in near future.
It is truly delightful to hear that foreign brands are taking interest in Indian sports and helping these sports flourish. But it does raise a question as to why Indian brands cannot elevate and promote sport in India in a similar manner.