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Robi Axiata new Bangladesh team sponsor

The Bangladesh team celebrate their 3-0 series win over Pakistan AFP

The BCB has declared mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited as the sponsor of the Bangladesh team for the next two years. Media planning company Top of Mind assigned the sponsorship rights to Robi after becoming the highest bidder in the financial proposal submission for the sponsorship rights on Wednesday.

Robi will be sponsors of the Bangladesh team, the Under-19 team and Bangladesh A team. However, their rights will not be applicable for the ICC tournaments. The BCB will auction team sponsorship rights for the Under-19 World Cup and the 2016 World T20 at a later date.

On Wednesday, BCB president Nazmul Hassan declared Top of Mind as the highest bidder at Tk 41.41 crore (US$ 5.32 milllion), which was 41 lakh (US$ 52,721) more than Grameenphone's offering of 41 crore (US$ 5.27 million) in the final round of bidding.

After the first two rounds of the three-round bidding process, Grameenphone and Top of Mind were the first and second highest bidders. The BCB called the top two bidders to the third round. The other bidders were Impress Telefilms, Property Development Ltd, AKC (Pvt) Ltd and Bangladesh Lift Industries Ltd.

"We are happy," Hassan said. "We wouldn't say it was more than our expectations. When Sahara took it last time, none of the Bangladeshi offers were anything near theirs. Now we are seeing that we are getting higher offers than Sahara from local companies. We are happy that they have come forward.

"This is the result of the people's belief in our team. The real credit goes to the players. I know that if we ask for international bids, we will get bigger offers. Our ranking has gone higher, so this had an effect."

Top of mind had been the sponsorship rights holder of the Bangladesh team for the series against Pakistan in April and May. They in turn sold it to Pran RFL Group.

The BCB had to go for a new tender for the team sponsorship rights after ending the contract with Aamby Valley, an affiliate of Sahara India Parivar, 15 months before it was scheduled to end in June 2016. The deal was worth US$ 14 million for four years. The BCB said in a press conference on Wednesday that they have completed all financial transactions with Sahara before terminating the contract.