Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 04-08-2011

India's biggest telco Bharti Airtel has pulled the plug on its sponsorship of the Champions League T20 cricket.

The company decided to exit the five-year contract, which had three years still to run, with low viewing figures for the tournament cited as the reason. It will not sponsor any future editions of the championship.

In 2009, Airtel had signed a three-year deal (extendable by two years) worth Rs 150 crore with official tournament broadcaster ESPN Star Sports for the title sponsorship of the T20 league.

ESPN Star Sports has paid around $1 billion for the T20 broadcasting rights for 10 years. Reports suggest it may sign a deal with Nokia following Bharti Airtel's exit.

This year the Champions League will take place in India from 23 September to 9 October, preceded by a qualifying tournament. Club T20 teams from India, Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, England and New Zealand will take part in the tournament. The matches will be played in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai.