Sequoia-backed gaming startup MPL joins Paytm, BYJU'S, Dream11 in sponsoring Team India

MPL has signed a three-year deal with the BCCI to be the kit sponsor for Team India. Prior to this, MPL had also partnered with two IPL franchises.

Startups associating with cricket has emerged as a big trend this year.

Sequoia-backed esports platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) has clinched a three-year kit sponsorship deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

MPL's wholly-owned subsidiary MPL Sports Apparel and Accessories has replaced Nike as Team India's apparel sponsor from November 2020 to December 2023.

According to BCCI sources, MPL will pay Rs 65 lakh per match, which is lesser than what Nike paid for the last 14 years. Additionally, the $450-million gaming startup will dish out Rs 3 crore per year in merchandising costs to the BCCI.

With this, MPL joins homegrown unicorns Paytm, BYJU'S, and Dream11 in sponsoring Indian cricket in varying capacities.

Earlier this year, MPL was also an official partner for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in the just-concluded Indian Premier League that saw a plethora of startups lining up for sponsorships.

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In an earlier interaction with YourStory, Abhishek Madhavan, VP, Growth and Marketing, MPL, said,

"It’s not easy for a two-year-old startup to pull off any of these large partnerships, but it’s a reflection of the growth we’ve been able to have in a short span. We've grown 3-4X since pre-COVID-19 levels."

By associating with high-profile cricket events, MPL is chasing "measurable outcomes such as brand recognition, mass awareness, and user trust at a mass level".

The MPL app offers 70 games and claims to have added 60 million users in the last 18 months, which makes it one of India's fastest-growing mobile gaming platforms.

In September, it raised a Series C round of $90 million led by SIG, RTP Global, along with MDI Ventures and Pegasus Tech Ventures. MPL's existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Go-Ventures, and Base Partners also participated in the round.

The startup plans to use the fresh capital to expand its product offering, and focus on social features such as live streaming, audio and video content. 

“This round of funding will enable us to entertain and connect an even larger audience across India and beyond," MPL Co-founder and CEO Sai Srinivas stated.

Edited by Teja Lele