If you were present at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium or watched Bengaluru FC vs Chennayin FC match on screen last Sunday, you may have noticed the Blues squad without a title sponsor. The JSW logo was a staple in BFC jerseys starting from the first season while lack of any sponsor in the last match raised some eyebrows.
Now, the mystery has been revealed. Bengaluru FC announced a tie-up with South Korea car maker Kia Motors on Friday at Bengaluru. The duo has signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for a four-year sponsorship deal that will see BFC players wearing KIA logo affixed jerseys starting from the home match against Jamshedpur FC on October 7 (Sunday).
The MoU has been signed by Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO of Kia Motors India, and Parth Jindal, the CEO of Bengaluru Football Club. Bengaluru FC had started operations in 2013 and the club had been playing with JSW as principal sponsor all these years which is also one of the owners of the club. This is the first time the Southern club, which switched to Indian Super League from i-league last season, is going for another principal sponsor.
Kia Motors is not a new face in the sports fraternity. Kia's global sports sponsorship portfolio includes FIFA, UEFA Europa League, Australian Open and LPGA. The South Korean outfit was also the title sponsor of La Liga club Atletico Madrid from 2005 to 2011.
Kia Motors has earmarked mid-2019 for the start of sales of its vehicles in India. The company made India debut at the Auto Expo 2018 in February showcasing nearly 16 international models in which some are destined for India. Kia Motors also showcased the Carnival premium MPV and Sorento SUV during the press conference on Friday. The company is currently setting up a manufacturing plant at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.
Bengaluru FC is one of the most successful Indian football clubs, winning a major trophy once every season since its inception in 2013. BFC is also the only club qualified for the final of the Asian Football Confederation Cup (AFC CUP) in 2016.