Melbourne, November 30: Spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground may soon be sipping on an Indian craft beer brand – Bira 91, as they soak in the game of Cricket.

B9 Beverages, which owns and markets Bira 91 beer, has signed a five-year global partnership deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC), according to a joint statement issued, Wednesday.

Bira 91 founder, Ankur Jain is listed among India’s 50 Most Influential Young Indian Innovators

Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of Bira 91 said that the agreement “is pretty comprehensive,” talking to Bharat Times from New Delhi.

As an official partner of ICC, the New Delhi-based brewer will have “broadcast, digital, and in-stadium advertising rights during international cricket tournaments”, according to Jain.

The sponsorship kicks off at the World Cup 2019, to be hosted by England and Wales. B9 Beverages is otherwise, also exploring third-party contracts in the UK before the World Cup.

Apart from that the deal will cover other key international tournaments, including ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa in 2020; and the ICC Women’s World Cup to be hosted by Australia in 2020.

For B9 Beverages, the deal is an opportunity to gain from cricket’s mass appeal, which carries the power to influence all demographics.

Industry experts estimate that the deal is upwards of $5 million per year.

The multi-million-dollar deal however, does not cover in India – with prohibitions in place, against serving alcoholic drinks at the match venues, enforced by the Board for Control of Cricket in India.

B9 Beverages also produces a range of non-alcoholic beer and hot sauces that could potentially be used for surrogate advertising.

Launched in 2015, Bira 91’s light lagers and strong ales quickly found favour among India’s urban millennials. As a locally brewed beer, Bira 91 now sells in nine Indian states and has carved out a niche in the 500 billion Indian beer market.

It market base also covers the US, Bahrain, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UAE. This ICC deal is expected to cement its international reach.

B9 had earlier announced raising $50 million in an investment initiative from Belgian investment firm Sofina and existing investor Sequoia. Other existing investors of B9 is Zomato owner, Deepinder Goyal.

Raj Kumar

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