Star India Wins Cricket Team Sponsorship Bid; Current Sponsor Sahara Cries Foul
Indian cricket players will don a new brand logo beginning Jan. 1, "with Star India winning the bid for the team's sponsorship rights" for Rs 1.92 crore ($314,000) a match, a drop of 40% from Rs 3.34 crore ($546,400) a match that current sponsor Sahara is paying, according to the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. But "the decision to grant the rights for three years was not without its fair share of controversies," as the Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to reject a bid made by Sahara India, ending the 12-year association of the brand with the men in blue. Sahara on Monday "surprised everybody" by making the highest bid of Rs 2.35 crore ($384,400) a match, after publicly saying earlier that "it would not bid for the contract again." However, the BCCI termed Sahara "not eligible" and gave the contract, instead, to the only other bidder, STAR. Sahara "cried foul" over the BCCI rejecting its bid, "the highest." Star India's bid price was 28% higher than the base price for the auction, "which was dramatically reduced" to only Rs 1.5 crore ($245,400). The move by Star "represents its new strategy to extend its association with cricket beyond broadcasting rights" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 12/9). The PTI reported the Indian team "would have been without a sponsor after this month as Sahara had pulled the plug on its deal a few months ago owing to a financial dispute with the BCCI." Sahara claimed that they were disqualified because of the dispute with the Board regarding the Indian Premier League franchise and the entire bidding process was "stage-managed." Sahara Corporate Communications Head Abhijit Sarkar said, "If there is a dispute, why did they not disqualify us from the very beginning? It's very clear that the entire thing was a stage-managed show." Sahara has bid Rs. 2.35 crore per BCCI match and Rs. 91 lakh ($148,863) for Int'l Cricket Council games. The total amount bid by them stood at Rs. 252 crore ($41M) in contrast to Rs. 203 crore ($33M) bid by Star (PTI, 12/9).