India news December 4, 2013

BCCI lowers base price for team sponsorship

The BCCI has slashed its base price for each game by 40% while inviting bids for a new official sponsor for India's senior, Under-19, women and A teams. The tender has been floated because the existing contract with the Sahara group ends on December 31.

The base price for all of India's international matches has been fixed at Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million) per game. When Sahara had extended their decade-long association as the team sponsor for 42 months in July 2010 at Rs 3.34 crore (Rs 33.4 million) per match, the base price had been Rs 2.5 crore (Rs 25 million). Despite the winning bid fetching the BCCI approximately 34% more than the base price last time, the board has lowered the base price considerably for the next four years.

"This is to ensure that more bidders show interest in buying the logo rights," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told Times of India. "The board is not undervaluing any property. The base price valuation is done as per the market condition."

Besides lowering the base price, the BCCI also relaxed stringent conditions that had resulted in the list of bidders being restricted to corporate giants. The minimum net worth requirement for a bidder has been reduced to Rs 100 crore (Rs 1000 million) from Rs 1000 crore (Rs 10,000 million) in 2010, while the performance deposit to be given to the BCCI while submitting the bid has been cut from Rs 45 crore (Rs 450 million) to Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million).

Despite the BCCI's explanation, the move has raised eyebrows, especially after the negative publicity the board attracted in 2013. Though the Indian team fared well over the last six months, the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal and the controversy surrounding N Srinivasan as board president, did not help the image of Indian cricket.

After the BCCI's relationship with Sahara turned sour - their Pune Warriors franchise was removed from the IPL - the sponsor made public its intention of not renewing their contract. As a result, the Indian players will in all likelihood sport a new logo on their jerseys during the tour of New Zealand in January 2014.

The repercussions of the market conditions were evident when the BCCI awarded series sponsorship rights to Star India, the loner bidder, at a base price of Rs 2 crore per match (Rs 20 million) in October. Considering the rights were only for 13 matches in less than two months, the BCCI had not increased the base price from the 2010 bid. However, Star India was the only bidder and bagged the rights at a much lower price than Airtel's previous winning bid of Rs 3.33 crore (Rs 33.3 million) per match.

The tender for the team sponsorship can be bought for Rs 200,000 until December 7 and the bids will be submitted and opened on December 9. At least three documents have been purchased so far.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo