Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun
OPPO Mobiles India, the smartphone manufacturer, has won the Indian team sponsorship rights for a five-year period, starting April 1 2017. OPPO Mobiles will pay INR 1079 crore (approx USD 162 million) for the duration of their contract having beaten the only other bid of INR 768 crore (approx USD 115 million) from Vivo, another smartphone manufacturer. The minimum reserve price was set by the BCCI at INR 538 crore (approx USD 81 million).
The bids were opened in the presence of both parties at noon on Tuesday. OPPO's was worth 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. The existing team sponsor, Star India, whose contract expires on March 31, had paid INR 1.92 crore (approx USD 289,000) and 61 lakh (approx USD 92,000) per match for bilateral and ICC tournaments respectively. The team sponsorship rights bring with them the opportunity to display a commercial logo on the men's, women's, Under-19 and A teams' kits.
The five years rights period starts on 1st April 2017 and continues until 31st March 2022, during which India play 14 home series and 20 overseas series, which also include the ICC Champions Trophy, ICC Cricket World Cup and the World T20 events.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri said the bid revealed the value of a partnership with the India team. "Star India gave us 203 crore (approx USD 30.5 million) in four years. OPPO has paid us 1079 crore over five years, which far exceeds the previous highest [contract]," he told ESPNcricinfo . "It really shows the true value of Indian cricket and the belief that companies have in Indian cricket. Because only once you have belief can you put in that kind of amount."
Johri said nine companies - "OPPO, Vivo, Star India, PayTM, Hero, Group M, DNA, DBS Bank and Encompass " - had obtained the tender document following which two - OPPO and Vivo - submitted bids. Johri then went on the explain the process by which the winning bid was selected. "The tenders come into envelops, there is a technical evaluation and a financial bid. First, the technical bids are opened and examined for completion in terms of legal requirements by the BCCI lawyers and lawyers from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. And, all financial aspects of the bid are evaluated by Deloitte. Once Deloitte tabulated the final numbers, we showed both parties each other's numbers and the one with the higher number gets [the contract]."
Diana Eduljee, member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, said they were satisfied with the bidding process. "There was transparency and everything was in order," she said in a press conference in Mumbai. "We are very happy with this bid because it has put cricket first and everything else in the background. This is a very positive sign and positive beginning for all of us. We hope to go forward from here."
Star India CEO Uday Shankar had said they decided not to bid again given the "volatility" surrounding the game and was particularly apprehensive about the lack of clarity over the Future Tours Programme.
Johri, however, dismissed those concerns. "That [FTP] is already part of the tender document," he said at the press conference. "Today's result is testimony that there is no ambiguity. We play 259 games in total." He also rejected the suggestion that big brands were no longer interested in investing in Indian cricket. "If you look at somebody putting 1079 crore for a five-year sponsorship, the company in its own right is a big company. That is testimony to the confidence in BCCI and Indian cricket," he said.
Sky Li, global vice-president and president of OPPO Mobiles India Pvt Ltd., said OPPO aimed to reach new heights alongside the India team. "Cricket in India isn't just a sport, it is also a way of life, a culture, even a religion," he said. "OPPO is the most adored youth-centralised brand. In India we also have been growing fast."