PepsiCo India President Steps Down Following Questions About Price Of IPL Sponsorship
PepsiCo India President Manu Anand has stepped down as it is "difficult to separate the news from the company's unfortunate decision to shell out millions of dollars to associate itself with the scandal-hit Indian Premier League," according to Avantika Chilkoti of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The news comes as people "question one of the company’s most daring decisions." PepsiCo paid Rs3.97B ($67M) "to be title sponsor of the popular Indian cricketing tournament for five seasons." It "always looked like a brave bid." The company "spent almost double what DLF, the property developer, dished out to have its name prefixed to the popular Indian cricketing tournament" between '08-12. And it is widely acknowledged that "the popularity of the IPL has fluctuated dramatically over time" -- initially high as fans were enthralled by the new, high speed format of the sport, and then dropping as scandalous afterparties and match fixing allegations left them disillusioned. Even after "shelling out all that cash," PepsiCo -- which includes Pepsi, 7UP, Aquafina water and Tropicana juices in its portfolio, as well as crisps and other snacks -- does not "seem to have got the benefit it must have hoped for from its expensive sponsorship." It "was bad luck" for PepsiCo. This year’s tournament "has been shrouded in a match-fixing scandal that has shaken even the top of the pyramid"-- int'l players and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which owns the IPL. That reduced enthusiasm for the tournament "has led commentators to question whether Pepsi will continue its title sponsorship" (FT, 6/21).