Five-year sponsorship deal secures Sixes' future

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am

A five-year multimillion-dollar title sponsorship deal has quashed fears the Hong Kong Sixes might be put on hold for a year.

Karp Group, which came on board at the last minute in 2009, has put its hand up once again after the Hong Kong Cricket Association struggled to find a title sponsor for the November 6-7 tournament at the Kowloon Cricket Club.

HKCA chairman Dinesh Tandon said the deal would ensure the financial future of the Sixes, as well as the association. 'It is a win-win situation for both of us. Local cricket can now get on with the important business of pushing the boundaries further,' Tandon said. He refused to disclose the figures behind the agreement with the jewellers.

'This year alone, they have signed up as title sponsors for more than twice the amount they paid last year,' Tandon said. 'Obviously, they have realised the potential this tournament holds as a marketing tool, especially in India. The commercial opportunity and wide exposure on television is enormous.'

It is believed the HKCA was considering putting the Sixes on hold for a year due to the difficulty in unearthing a title sponsor, but fears that a break in the annual event would damage its high international profile persuaded the organisers to keep hunting for a backer.

HKCA president Shahzada Saleem said securing a long-term sponsor was a huge shot in the arm for the local game.

'The Karp Group & PC Jewellery Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will be watched by millions of fans worldwide, and will provide a great driver for the development of the game in Hong Kong,' Saleem said. 'We are delighted that after the overwhelming success of the 2009 tournament, the Karp Group has seen the value in the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes.' .

Karp Group managing director Ramesh Virani said: 'We are thrilled to be associated with a top-class international cricket event. The fact that we are committed for five years is proof of the pudding - that the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is a quality and exciting tournament which has caught the imagination of millions of fans.'

Eight teams will take part in the two-day tournament and compete for total prize-money of US$150,000. They are Australia, England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

The tournament will be beamed live to more than 80 million households around the world by Dubai-based Ten Sports.