The Indian Olympic Association has signed a long-term deal with a sports apparel company for the first time as it tied up with Chinese brand Li-Ning until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As part of the deal that was announced on Tuesday, Li-Ning will provide Indian athletes and officials with competition and training apparel, leisure-wear and footwear for the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 Summer Olympic Youth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The deal is worth more than Rs 2 crore plus the apparel that will be provided to the athletes and officials, taking the total value up to anywhere between Rs 5 crore and Rs 6 crore for the two-year period, according to sources.
The IOA has never had sports apparel partner for such a long duration before. Earlier deals were signed only for the duration of tournaments. Li-Ning was India’s apparel partner for the 2016 Rio Olympics as well, but the IOA decided to go with Indian brand Shiv Naresh for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.
“Li-Ning came to us with the offer to sign on for two years and we thought it was a very good deal,” IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told The Field. “We are delighted to have them on board long-term till 2020.”
Mahender Kapoor, managing director of Sunlight Sports, the distributors of Li-Ning in India, said, according to a press release, “Like we provided the comfort-wear apparel and footwear to Indian athletes in [the] 2016 Rio Olympics, we are fully committed at providing best quality and on-field comfort clothes to Indian athletes during these mega events.”
Li-Ning will hope that this latest partnership with the IOA will be controversy-free. During the Rio Olympics, the Chinese company had complained to the IOA that three Indian athletes had worn a rival brand’s apparel during matches, according to a Mumbai Mirror report.
Indian shuttler PV Sindhu, who went on to win silver in Rio, was seen wearing Japanese apparel maker Yonex’s top from the quarter-finals onward. Fellow shuttler Kidambi Srikanth also wore Yonex jerseys for his Round of 16 and quarter-final matches.