In a surprise development, OPPO, the Chinese mobile manufacturing company that paid a record sum in 2017 to secure the sponsorship rights of the Indian cricket team, has bailed out of their contract nearly three years before it ends. On Thursday, the BCCI said OPPO was being replaced by Byju's, a learning app, which will now be the Indian team's sponsor till March 2022.
As part of the deal, the Byju's logo will be on the shirts of the Indian players, both men and women, in all three formats starting with the series against South Africa in September.
OPPO had originally paid INR 1079 crore (approx USD 162 million) for their five-year deal, which was double the base price of INR 538 crore (approx USD 81 million) set by BCCI in 2017. As per the deal OPPO would pay INR 4.61 crore (approx USD 693,000) per match for bilateral series and INR 1.51 crore (approx USD 227,000) per match for ICC sponsored tournaments.
ESPNcricinfo understands OPPO has opted to assign the remainder of the sponsorship to Byju's, which is allowed under the terms of the original contract. However, Byju's would need to pay the BCCI an additional 5% over the balance amount as re-assignment fee.
According to a board official, if it were to put out a tender to sell the sponsorship rights for the truncated period of 19 months, it might have received a smaller bid since the market is currently "soft". With Byju's picking up the contract from OPPO, the official said BCCI had actually managed to generate a profit.
Byju Raveendran, Byju's founder and chief executive officer, said the deal would have a positive impact for his company. "We are proud to be the Indian Cricket Team sponsor. Cricket is the heartbeat of all Indians and we are thrilled to be an integral part of our much loved team," Raveendran said in a media release issued by BCCI. "As a learning company, BYJU'S has always recognised the critical role that sport plays in a child's development. Just as cricket inspires a billion budding dreams across India, we too as a learning company hope to inspire the love of learning in every child's heart."
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo