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Business News/ Consumer / Sahara beats Airtel for sponsorship of Indian cricket team
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Sahara beats Airtel for sponsorship of Indian cricket team

Sahara beats Airtel for sponsorship of Indian cricket team


New Delhi: Sahara India Pariwar will continue to sponsor the Indian cricket team for the next three-and-a-half years after outbidding telecom firm Bharti Airtel Ltd in a two-way contest.

Sahara, which has been the team sponsor for the past four-and-a-half years, bid Rs3.34 crore for every Test, one-day and Twenty20 match, said a statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI.

Bharti’s bid was Rs2.89 crore. The board had fixed Rs2.5 crore per match as the base price.

There were no bidders for sponsoring the women’s and the under-19 teams.

The men’s team is expected to play 150-170 matches from 1 July until 31 December 2013, said Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer, BCCI. This means the sponsorship will cost Sahara Rs501-567.8 crore. In 2005, Sahara had bid Rs313 crore for four years, but ended up paying Rs410 crore as the number of matches increased.

The deal expired in December, but was extended until June as there were no bidders when BCCI issued a tender that kept the base price at Rs3 crore. The board issued a fresh tender with the lower base price earlier this month.

“This time we kept the base price at Rs2.5 crore, which is about 20% more than Sahara’s existing payment to us. We were expecting around Rs3 crore. We are very happy with what we have achieved," Shetty said.

The sponsorship allows Sahara to place its logo on players’ jerseys and leading arms, and practice and travel clothing.

Earlier this year, Sahara also won the rights to own a Pune-based team in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament for $370 million (around Rs1,720 crore). The team has been named Sahara Pune Warriors.

Sahara’s head of corporate affairs Abhijit Sarkar said investing in cricket carried immense value for Sahara.

“There are repeat telecast of matches on television, so it’s a 24x7 promotion," he said.

Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar scored his world record double-century in a one-day international with the Sahara branding on his chest. “The photograph was carried all over the world. What do you think is the value of that?" Sarkar added.

The head of an advertising group, who also advises clients on cricket sponsorship deals, said Sahara’s bid cannot be evaluated on the basis of return on investment or scale.

“Sahara needs the branding opportunity as it has no other high-profile business, like its airline earlier," he added, asking not to be identified because he does business with Sahara.

The conglomerate, which has interests in finance, insurance, real estate, media and entertainment, sold off Air Sahara to Jet Airways (India) Ltd in 2007.

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Updated: 31 May 2010, 10:46 PM IST
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