India news May 31, 2010

Sahara to continue as Indian team sponsor

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The Sahara Group will continue as sponsors of the Indian team after they won the contract by bidding Rs. 3.34 crores ($719,000) per match, a marketing committee official has told Cricinfo. The current sponsorship contract ends on June 30 and the new one runs until December 31, 2013. A top Sahara official also confirmed the development. Bharti Airtel, the only other company in the fray, put in a bid for Rs 2.89 crore ($628, 260) per match.

"We take pride in sponsoring the Indian national team," Abhijit Sarkar, corporate affairs head at Sahara, said.

Sahara's winning bid comes as something of a surprise as chairman Subrata Roy had said the company would re-evaluate its sponsorship of the Indian team after it bagged the Pune IPL franchise. According to market sources, Sahara decided to bid again because an analysis of the numbers turned out positive. It paid Rs 407 crores ($88 million) over the last four years, so the new deal requires roughly Rs 85 crores ($18.5 million) more, which doesn't hurt the group much.

Sahara waited until the last minute before entering the bidding because it was worried about the response from its competitors. It feared the price of the deal could rise over Rs 500 crores if its interest was publicly known. The deal is solely to sponsor the Indian men's team, as the group was not interested in spending an extra Rs 10-15 crore on the other three squads (women's, India A and Under-19).

The BCCI is not bothered by the failure to attract a sponsor for the three other teams, and will not attempt to find one, a board official who is a member of the marketing committee, told Cricinfo. As it stands, these teams don't play a lot of matches anyway, and when they do, the matches aren't always televised. Occasionally, the matches even clash with those of the Indian team, robbing them of any value, the official said.

The board had set a base price of Rs 2.5 crores ($ 541,000) per match for the three-and-a-half-year period, during which India will play between 144 and 167 matches, depending on how far the team progresses in ICC tournaments. At Rs 3.34 crores a match, the Sahara deal is worth between Rs 481 crores ($104 million) and Rs 558 crores ($121 million). A member of the BCCI marketing committee told Cricinfo that the board is very happy with the new deal, as it represents a 50% increase per match over the previous deal (in actuality, the increase is much higher).

Under the terms of the previous deal, Sahara paid Rs 1.91 crores ($ 412,000) per Test, Rs 2.09 crores ($ 455,000) per ODI and Rs 1.57 crores ($ 340,000) per Twenty20. The new price is the same across all three formats, and more than doubles the price of a Twenty20 game, highlighting its appeal and popularity.

The board had originally issued a tender late last year with a base price of Rs 3 crores ($ 650,000) per match, but failed to attract a single bid. As a stop gap measure, the Sahara Group agreed to extend its sponsorship of the Indian team for a further six months.

The Indian board issued the tender on Monday inviting companies to bid for the rights and the bidding period closed on Saturday.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ash4u8iit on June 1, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    this comment will also be lost in the archives of cricinfo. BCCI & sports ministry both should be dimantled, because they have been proven disasters. Be in C Games or IPL. I think its high time that govt should float a PSU, which is manned by man of integrity. That's the only way to develop sports culture in this country.

  • nandooo on June 1, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    @RemoBond: Well, what do you think they (or you) can do with that money after the world ends on Dec 21st 2012? Also, I don't think they pay the money now. They pay when the match is played.

    That said, who do you now think is foolish?

  • dummy4fb on June 1, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    only 2 companies in the biddin process?? wish there were biggies like Reliance and Tatas....

  • Vicky_22 on June 1, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Mr.Bond (@Remo)actually what you want to say if world is going to be an end on 21st 2012 then what is the use to keep that much amount for Sahara group or any other groups ??? 'live at this moment don't think future too much'

  • dummy4fb on June 1, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    Sahara group has invested more than 1300 crores in IPL.... so they seems not interested even this bid.. but they fortunate enough to get it back. that's all!

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    "well i think some of this share must be donated for improvement and development of football in india. BCCI must act like a public venture for sports instead of a profit making pvt. ltd. " Really? Why would Board of Control for Cricket in India... Read, CRICKET donate money to football? I am just disappointed with the reluctance to support the India A, under 19 and the Women's team.

  • tmartis on May 31, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    The men's teams is obviously the most profitable for the board. But I hope the board did not forget that is needs to fully support all the other teams as well. And the Indian Women's team is very much part of it. They deserve a good slice of the pie as well as they also represent India, and of course being an Indian supporter you want all your teams to do well.

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    Sad to see the A team and the women's team not getting a single bid for sponsor.

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    i think the sahara group is foolish to sponsor india till 2013.. Don they know that world will end on dec 21st 2012?? why waste that much money?? :D

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Whats wrong with Sahara. Earlier they were ready to sponsor every sport and in cricket only women's team. Now they are sponsoring only men. Really bad! Whats women's mistake in this?

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