New Delhi: Hero MotoCorp has pulled out of the Indian Premier League sponsorship on Tuesday. Hero MotoCorp was a team sponsor for Delhi Daredevils for the first three seasons and then of Mumbai Indians for seasons four and five. The group has also sponsored the World Cup and Champions Trophy in the past.
"We have been associated with cricket for over two decades, and it is not correct to say that we are now moving away from cricket," Hero said in a statement.
"We at Hero MotoCorp are engaged in promotion of several sports including cricket, golf, hockey and soccer etc. Our decision not to renew our central contract with IPL and with IPL team Mumbai Indians does not in any way dilute our commitment to cricket as a sport. It is the most popular game in the country, and we will continue to remain associated with the game in various forms."
Hero is the second sponsor to move out of the high-profile league in the last few months after DLF, which quit the league as title sponsor last year. Soft drink giant Pepsi later replaced DLF as title sponsor.
Sahara India too pulled out as Team India sponsor and as owners of Pune Warriors India in the IPL early last year but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) managed to talk it out of it.
Hero, however, will continue its association with hockey and golf with the Hockey India League - that culminated on last Sunday - getting a big response from fans.
Also, it has reportedly signed a four-year deal with the international governing body for hockey, the FIH, and will be sponsoring all the tournaments under the auspices of the FIH.
Hero, for several years, has also been the patron of Indian golf and is the title sponsor for the Indian Open, one of the biggest Asian Tour tournaments.