The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday invited bids to appoint up to a maximum of six official partners, one strategic timeout partner and one umpire partner, for the forthcoming seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The media rights are being awarded for a period of three-to-five years. BCCI is estimated to make in excess of Rs60 crore from these sponsorship deals.

This is touted to be the biggest season of IPL thus far, given that media rights for the popular T20 league were sold for an ambitious Rs16,347.50 crore for five years to broadcaster Star India. Additionally, all original eight teams will play in the next edition, marking the return of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals after a gap of two years.

CEAT Tyres, part of RPG Enterprises, was the strategic timeout partner for IPL for the past three seasons, while official partners included telecom firm Vodafone, lender YES Bank, auto maker Maruti Suzuki and digital payments platform Freecharge. The league did not have an umpire partner for the past two years.

“This is going to be the biggest season of IPL and BCCI will look to make significant revenue through these sponsorship deals. Although, BCCI should be mindful as to not make the space too cluttered and to ensure each partner gets its due for the premium they pay," said Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer of Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions. “Categories like beverage makers, telecom firms and smartphone manufacturers are definitely going to be front runners for these bids."

While BCCI will go all out to make significant revenue from these tie-ups, it is offering a lot of visibility for the brands. All partners will have the right to use the official IPL logo and official partner status in communications, category exclusivity across all central sponsorships for IPL, and the first right of refusal on broadcast sponsorship in product category.

The brands will get visibility on ground through LED perimeter advertising boards, placement on pitch mat on outfield at midwicket, boundary rope branding across all matches as well as match day activations and digital presence on IPL website, among others.

Interested parties that want to buy any of the rights need to submit an expression of interest (EoI) by 17 January. BCCI anticipates a period of negotiation, with third parties submitting on behalf of a brand and they can submit EoI till 31 January. The last date for submission of bids is also 31 January and the list of sponsors is likely to be announced by mid-February. The above schedule is subject to revision by BCCI at its discretion, the sport’s governing body said in a note.