Two Times Group team to fight each other at ICL

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | October 16, 2008 and Magic to sponsor Chennai Superstars and Mumbai Champs respectively


latest to join the bandwagon of Essel Group's Indian Cricket League is Times Group. Through its two online portals, and, Times Business Solutions has announced its decision to sponsor the ICL teams, Chennai Superstars and Mumbai Champs respectively.

Therefore, the names of the two teams will be Chennai Superstars and Mumbai Champs. Chennai Superstars, which is coached by Michael Bevan, Australia consists of 19 players, including five foreign cricketers. Talking about this strategic tie-up, Aditi Verma, head of marketing, says, "At, we try to be close to cricket. And our target audience, which is 25+ males, are the ones who are inclined towards cricket. So, it made sense for us to tie up with the tournament. We zeroed down on Chennai, as it has proved to be a consistent performer. Moreover, it is an important market for us, so it was a natural choice."

To promote the deal, is relying heavily on on-ground, on-air and print activities. For on-ground activities, the company is focusing on heavy branding on the perimeter board, players' jerseys, prize stand and players' stands. It has also released a few print advertisements in various publications of the Times Group.

According to Naveen Luthra, vice-president and business head, Magic, "The tie-up is providing huge visibility for us. Till now, each team has played only one match, but the visibility we have received is great. We are hoping that it will lead to more relevant usage of the site." Mumbai Champs team is being coached by Sandip Patil and received high scores in the inaugural ICL 20s championship.

Naveen LuthraThe growing real estate market of the Western region played an important role in clinching the association of MagicBricks with Mumbai Champs. "The real estate scenario in Mumbai and Western region is booming and that is why we pinned down on the particular team. Plus, the way they have shaped up is very good," states Luthra.

Sandeep Goel, vice-president, sponsorship activities, ICL says, "It is very important to have sponsors who enjoy sports and Times Business Solutions are great lovers of sports. We are in discussions with other companies as well, who have similar interest."

Talking about the future plans of getting a franchisee for ICL as and when there is an announcement, Luthra says, "It's a little early to decide. Let's see how the association shapes up."

In an official statement, R Sundar, CEO, Times Business Solutions says, "In our endeavour to showcase Indian talent to the world, Times Business Solutions has sponsored not one, but two teams for the ICL, which has been formed to spot and encourage cricketing talent in the country."

Times Group is following a focused marketing strategy for both the teams. "Any association starts with a win-win objective. Through this deal, the teams will get an international platform and we will get the visibility."

The Chennai Superstars inaugural match was played on Saturday, October 11, in Hyderabad against the Dhaka Warriors. The Mumbai Champs inaugural match was in Hyderabad against the Chandigarh Lions on Sunday, October 2.

For the record, Times Business Solutions Ltd (TBSL) includes e-recruitment services, Timesjobs and SmartHire; real estate portal, MagicBricks; matrimonial classifieds site, SimplyMarry; general classifieds site, Yolist; and advertising booking service, Ads2book.

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