Chennai: Star India Pvt. Ltd. on Monday was awarded the team sponsorship rights of the Indian team for a period of three years after Sahara`s bid was declared ineligible by the BCCI here.
"Star India Pvt Ltd have been awarded the Team Sponsorship Rights covering BCCI Events, ICC Events and ACC Events, for the period 1st January 2014 to 31st March 2017," BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement after a meeting of Board`s Marketing Committee here. "Rights include the right to be called the `Official Team Sponsor` and to display a commercial logo on the team clothing of the Sr. Men`s Cricket Team, the U-19 Men`s Cricket Team, the Men`s A-Team and the Women`s Team."
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. Although the BCCI release did not specify the amount, it is learnt that Star will shell out Rs 1.92 crore per match organised by the Board.
"The tender document, which was available from 11th November 2013, was picked up by 7 prospective bidders. Bids were accepted until 3:00 pm on 9th December 2013, at which time the bids were opened and evaluated. Two bidders ? Star India Pvt Ltd and Sahara India Financial Corporation ? were in the fray. Sahara`s bid was found to be ineligible," Patel said.
Sahara, however, claimed that they were disqualified because of the dispute with the Board regarding the IPL franchise and the entire bidding process was "stage-managed". "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`s Corporate Communications Head Abhijit Sarkar alleged.
He said that Sahara was the biggest bidder but the Board did not give them the rights out of vengeance. It is learnt that Sahara had bid Rs 2.35 crore per BCCI match and Rs 91 lakh for ICC games. The total amount bid by them stood at Rs 252 crore in contrast to Rs 203 crore bid by Star.
Patel said Star would also be the holder of the broadcast, internet and mobile rights of cricket in India until March 2018. "Star is the Title Sponsor for BCCI international and domestic matches for the period October 2013 to 31st March 2014, as well as the Holder of the Broadcast, Internet and Mobile Rights of cricket in India, for the period July 2012 ? March 2018.
"Star has a deep understanding of the game of cricket, and what it means to the nation. We are pleased to extend our association with them," Patel said.
While floating the tender for the sponsorship rights, the BCCI had slashed the base price to Rs 1.5 crore per match this time. Sahara had been paying Rs 3.34 crore per international match since 2010. The company had outbid Airtel in 2010 to extend its sponsorship of the Indian team. Three years ago, the BCCI base price was Rs 2.5 crore per match.
Sahara secured the rights by paying Rs 3.34 crore to Airtel`s Rs 2.89 crore per international game. But their relations with the BCCI turned sour and in October this year, the Board terminated Sahara-sponsored Indian Premier League team Pune Warriors over franchise fees.
Sahara, in turn, decided to sever all links with BCCI but later bought the bid documents claiming that a number of current and former cricketers had requested Chairman Subrata Roy to continue their involvement with cricket. Meanwhile, Star CEO Uday Shankar the company was delighted to get the lucrative deal. "Star is delighted to become the Official Sponsor of the Indian cricket team. It`s a team of brilliant talent and we are proud to be associated with them. This is further endorsement of Star`s deep commitment to Indian cricket and Indian Sports in general," Shankar said.
STAR are the BCCI`s host broadcasters and also have series sponsorship rights for all home matches till March 2014.