The Mumbai Indians are looking for a new shirt sponsor after Hero, India's leading two-wheeler manufacturer, decided to stop sponsoring cricket-related events.
According to a report in The Times of India, Hero's exit will leave world cricket poorer by around 1200 crore per year. Recently, Hero had signed up as title sponsors of the Hockey India League and also signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the International Hockey Federation to sponsor all their events scheduled in India.
Hero is also associated with golf -- they sponsor the professional women's golf tour and the Indian Open.
In The Times of India report, a statement from Hero MotoCorp read: "We have been associated with cricket for over two decades and it is not correct to say that we are moving away from cricket. Our decision to not renew IPL contracts does not dilute out commitment to cricket. We will continue to remains engaged with cricket along with other sports."
According to our sources, if the price is not right, the Mumbai Indians might give the shirt sponsorship free to a charity. In football, Barcelona have done the same in the past. They had a history of refusing commercial shirt sponsorship and for a time their jerseys sported a UNICEF logo.
But Hero aren't the only group that has pulled out of the IPL. As things stand, HDFC Standard Life has not renewed the Rajasthan Royals deal. They might be waiting for the controversies surrounding Rajasthan to die down.
It has also been learnt that even though the Delhi Daredevils have Muthoot as incumbent sponsor, they are actively looking for another sponsor as well.