PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. PHOTO: PTI
The controversies associated with the Indian Premier League (IPL) are 'unfortunate' but Pepsi will continue to be the title sponsor of T20 league.
PepsiCo had pipped telecom major Bharti Airtel in 2012 to become the new title sponsor of the league, with a winning bid of Rs 396.8 crore, for the five seasons starting 2013.
"Now if IPL went through controversies, it's unfortunate. Nobody likes any sport tainted at all because sport is supposed to be above all of it. But again it is being addressed," PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi told Press Trust of India.
The IPL was hit by spot fixing controversies this year, involving two teams - Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings.
Last month, Sahara-owned Pune Warriors was ousted by the BCCI as the promoter refused to furnish the requisite bank guarantee. The decision to terminate the team left the IPL an eight-team affair for the time being.
When asked about the company's association with the tournament, Nooyi said: "I am going to look at the positives. We do not associate with the sport hoping that some thing goes wrong and we do not want anything to go wrong. We associate with IPL because we think cricket is like next to god in the country."
Cricket is part of India's fabric and it evokes the passions of people, it makes everybody feel young again, she added.
"It's like drinking the Pepsi. Drinking Pepsi and watching cricket is the same feeling you get, become young again. So that's why we invested behind the IPL because we felt the IPL franchise and Pepsi have lot in common," Nooyi said.
Highlighting the gains from association with IPL, she said it has helped the company build brand equity of its various products in the country.
"At this time IPL is a phenomenal marketing vehicle. It's a great sport. It brings lots of people to the stadiums and association with the IPL has built brand equity of our brands phenomenally," Nooyi said.
"Our hope is that something wonderful as IPL is not impacted due to those issues and we hope it would get addressed," she added.
PepsiCo on Monday announced an investment of Rs 33,000 crore in India till 2020. The beverages and snacks major sells various brands including Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Slice, Kurkure and Uncle Chipps.