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Indian tyre giants MRF join hands with three Premier League teams as their sleeve sponsor

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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10.98K   //    12 Sep 2017, 22:38 IST

Newcastle United MRF
MRF becomes the first ever sleeve sponsors in Newcastle United's 125-year history

What's the story?

MRF, the Indian tyre giants have become the sleeve sponsors of three Premier League sides Newcastle United, West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion for the upcoming season. In doing so, they have become the first ever company from India to have their names on the jerseys of a Premier League club.

In case you didn't know...

MRF is one of the biggest tyre manufacturers in the India and has a 24% market share in the country. In fact, 95% of the company's revenues are generated from tyre sales.

The company, which has seven factories in the southern part of the country and export to 75 countries. However, now it feels like they are ready to stamp their presence in the United Kingdom.

The heart of the matter

MRF's association with sports is a long standing affair. After starting off with a bat sponsorship for Sachin Tendulkar, the company moved on to sponsoring three of the best batsmen in the world in the 00s as Tendulkar was joined by Brian Lara and Steve Waugh in the team.

The company are currently prominent endorsers of cricket stars Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and AB de Villiers.

The three teams wore the MRF patch on their shirts last weekend with mixed results. While Newcastle won their first away game of the season against Swansea, West Ham secured their first points of the campaign after scripting a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield.

West Brom, however, succumbed to a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Brighton.

Reactions

The relationship has been greeted with a mixed review with some 'purists' speaking up against the 'tacky red patch' on their shirts.

Author's take

We have seen associations of Indian companies with EPL sides before with Wipro teaming up with Chelsea to improve their digital fan experience last year as their official digital and IT partner. Manchester United meanwhile had teamed up with HCL for undertaking digital initiatives to transform the experience of the former's 659 million followers around the world.

While this deal has nothing to do with technology, this is a certain statement of intent from MRF, who now look set to be a hit the offshore markets. While this gives the clubs some more revenue for spending on the betterment of the clubs, the sponsorship can pave the way for such future deals for Indian companies.

It is great to see MRF recognizing the reach they can achieve with the Premier League being the largest viewed football league in the world. Hopefully, in the days to come, this will entice the clubs from the Premier League to make pre-season tours to India.

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