Paytm to continue as India's title sponsor

Virat Kohli leads India out Getty Images

Indian mobile internet company One97 Communications, whose flagship brand is e-commerce giant Paytm, has won the right to continue as Indian cricket's title sponsor in both international (home season) and domestic cricket. The company won the bid for the four-year cycle stretching from September 2019 to 2023 for INR 326.80 cr (USD 45.8m approx). Paytm, which had bagged the title sponsorship for the first time in 2015, now placed a winning bid of INR 3.8 crore (USD 530,000 approx) per match, which was around 58% more than what it had paid four years ago.

ESPNcricinfo understands that at the start of the bidding, which was carried out through e-auction, there were three bidders, one of which was disqualified eventually on technical grounds. Paytm eventually outbid Dream 11, an India-based fantasy gaming company. Paytm's winning bid is believed to be 52% more than the base price set by the BCCI of INR 2.5 crore (USD 350,000 approx) per match. Incidentally, in 2015 the base price set by BCCI was 1.70 cr.

In 2015, Paytm had knocked out consumer electronics company Micromax, which held the title sponsorship for a year between 2014 and 2015. While Micromax had paid INR 2.02 crore per match, Paytm raised that to INR 2.42 crore to bag the rights until 2019. Micromax, in turn, had pipped media conglomerate Star India to the title sponsorship rights - Star paid INR 2 crore per game the previous year (2013-14). Star's price was much lower than the INR 3.33 crore per match that mobile network operator Airtel dished out during its three-year tenure as the title sponsor (2010-13).

In 2015, Paytm had paid INR 203.28 crore in total for 84 international men's matches. This time, although the BCCI did not reveal the number of international matches the deal would cover, a simple calculation suggests Paytm's overall bid is likely to be for 86 international matches. Under the deal, Paytm would also be the title sponsor for all domestic cricket, both men's and women's.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm's founder and chief executive, said cricket's special status in the country was once again the reason behind his company going after the rights. "India loves cricket and we at Paytm are the biggest fans of it," he was quoted as saying in a BCCI media release.