Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Why Amul is investing heavily in international cricket teams like USA Cricket

The dairy giant is also the primary sponsor for the Sri Lankan and South African teams in the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup. The collaboration is proving to be a win-win situation for both—the company and the sport. Here's how

Naini Thaker
Published: Jun 5, 2024 10:07:12 AM IST
Updated: Jun 13, 2024 02:57:11 PM IST

Why Amul is investing heavily in international cricket teams like USA CricketHarmeet Singh of USA celebrates with teammates after dismissing Aaron Johnson of Canada during the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 match between USA and Canada at Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium on June 01, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. Images: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

USA Cricket recently announced Amul as its primary sponsor for the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. This is a significant development, given that Amul recently announced its expansion to the US. Additionally, this is the first time the US is co-hosting an international cricketing event. “This collaboration is also a significant step towards expanding and popularising cricket across the nation,” says Venu Pisike, chairman of USA Cricket. Along with the USA Cricket team, the dairy giant is also the primary sponsor for the South African and Sri Lankan teams. These partnerships are significant for Amul, especially as it continues to expand its footprint globally.

A New Pitch

“This is the first time we have launched fresh milk outside India,” says Jayen Mehta, managing director of Amul. “The GCMMF has tied up with 108-year-old cooperative organisation Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) to launch fresh milk in the US market.” The investment in cricket will help Amul get the visibility it needs in a massive market like the US.

Amul has launched its range of fresh milk in one-gallon (3.8 litres) and half-a-gallon (1.9 litres) packs under the Amul brand in the US. This includes Amul Gold containing 6 percent milk fat, Amul Shakti with 4.5 percent milk fat, Amul Taaza with 3 percent milk fat and Amul Slim with 2 percent milk fat. “For more than 25 years, Amul products like butter, ghee, ice cream and shrikhand have been consumed in the US,” he adds. These fresh milk products will have the same composition, as they do in India. Amul exports milk products to over 50 countries across the globe.

Amul has a history of sponsoring various cricket teams during ICC events, including the New Zealand and Netherlands teams, for the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2011 Cricket World Cup, respectively. “Amul's extensive track record of sponsoring cricket teams underscores its commitment to nurturing talent, encouraging sportsmanship and uniting communities globally. Collaborating with esteemed brands like Amul inspires us to strive for excellence both on and off the field,” adds Pisike.

The interest of dairy majors in cricket is not just limited to Amul, but also one of their biggest competitors, Karnataka Milk Federation’s (KMF) Nandini. It will be sponsoring the Ireland and Scotland cricket teams for the T20 World Cup. KMF has a presence in international markets, including the Middle East, Singapore, Bhutan and Myanmar, with some frozen sweets also making their way to the US. KMF is also planning to launch Nandini Splash, a whey-based energy drink, in the US during the tournament.

Cricket’s popularity in the US

The history of cricket in the US can be traced back to the 18th century. However, the sport’s popularity declined due to the World Wars and other civil upheavals. But immigrants from cricket-playing nations, particularly the Caribbean, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh played a significant role in revitalising the sport’s appeal in the latter half of the 20th century.

“After the success of the T20 Major League Cricket, launched in 2023, we saw the opportunity for cricket to grow a lot more in the US,” adds Pisike. The IPL, established in 2008, holds a valuation of $11 billion, as of 2024. Given the significant increase of the commercial value of the game, the ICC has been keen to expand the game and take it to new venues and create new markets. “Cricket in the US has been seen as an ‘expat sport’ for many decades. But co-hosting the men’s T20 World Cup is a great opportunity for us to take the sport mainstream,” reckons Pisike. Onboarding popular brands like Amul is only helping the sport gain popularity in the country—not just among the expat communities, but also the local Americans.