It is not just the cricket ground; Red Chillies Entertainment wants to rule with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchisee, but is looking to further strengthen the brand’s presence, primarily through brand licensing.
Taking its expansion spree a notch higher, Shahrukh Khan owned KKR has launched Kolkata Knight Riders Expressions debit cards with ICICI bank. The deal has been mediated by their exclusive agency, Invision Brand Consulting.
The brand has been investing and prioritising their licensing and merchandising program for years, and with the current season the program is the largest ever.
Commenting on the deal, Venky Mysore, CEO of Kolkata Knight Riders said, “We are extremely pleased to have achieved yet another record year in licensing and merchandising, which has been largely driven by the strength of our brand. This licensing arrangement allows our fans to make the Knights a part of their day throughout the year.”
“This exciting launch of a range of Kolkata Knight Riders themed cards is part of our planned forays into providing innovative and disruptive touch points for the KKR fan. We believe sports, and specially cricketing league fans are continually looking for innovative merchandise, and this licensing arrangement is to offer KKR fans – wherever they may be globally, the opportunity to profess their allegiance for the Knight Riders during this exciting cricketing season,” said Pankaj Sikka, Chief Visionary, Invision Brand Consulting that manages licensing operations of the brand.
The penchant for bank cards is not new to Indian scenario, with ICICI leading the chart. ICICI has successfully partnered with Disney India for its mascot Mickey Mouse along with Captain America: Civil Wars, Star Wars, Jungle Book along with IPL teams KKR and Gujarat Lions.
Another bank, Citibank has inked pact with Viacom 18 for co-branded MTV credit cards. Also, in an exclusive alliance, globally praised Arsenal Football Club has launched co-branded bank cards with Indonesia based Muamalat Bank.
KKR expansion spree
Aiming to strengthen the brand’s presence, KKR is also looking at acquisitions across other sporting events, thus to create an umbrella brand of Knight Riders. According to Mysore, acquisitions can be explored in related games in similar leagues or across other sports – both in India and overseas.
In 2014, KKR has acquired the Trinidad and Tobago franchise of The Caribbean Premiere League (CPL T20) – the IPL equivalent in the West Indies – and had then re-named it Trinbago Knight Riders, thereby, extending the ‘Knight Riders’ brand.
The company has partnered with Lux Cozi and plans to take its team's apparel to the masses. Also, it has created a brand store on eCommerce portal Amazon. The company also plans to come up with exclusive brand stores.