Nokia to replace Airtel as Champions League Twenty20 sponsor

The tournament’s CEO, Sundar Raman, posted the news on his personal Twitter account, although further details have not been revealed. “Nokia signs up as title sponsor of Champions League Twenty20,” stated Raman. The next edition of the competition will run from September 23 to October 9 in India.

Airtel agreed a five-year deal to sponsor the tournament, which has been held in the company’s homeland of India in three of the four years of the event. However, Airtel’s decision to curtail a partnership reportedly worth US$8 million per year after just two years was confirmed last week by ESPN Star Sports, the tournament’s official broadcast partner.

Indian media reports stated that Airtel’s deal had an exit clause that allowed it to withdraw from the tournament if the ratings did not match expectations. The Champions League, launched by the cricket boards of India, Australia and South Africa, gathers the world’s leading Twenty20 club teams, but has endured a challenging time since the inaugural 2009 event.

The tournament’s scheduled first season in 2008 was cancelled after the Mumbai terrorist attack in November of that year. Since that time the event has struggled to generate strong television ratings in comparison to the all-powerful Indian Premier League. ESPN Star Sports splashed out nearly $1 billion in 2008 for the 10-year broadcast rights to the tournament.

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