Paytm’s parent in talks with BCCI, may bag IPL sponsorship deal
It has already had discussions with the board, but the price is proving to be ticklish, according to people who know about the talks.cricket Updated: Oct 10, 2015 20:22 IST
One97 Communications, the start-up that owns the Paytm brand of mobile wallet and online marketplace, is close to sealing a deal with the Indian cricket board to replace Pepsi as the Indian Premier League’s title sponsor.
It has already had discussions with the board, but the price is proving to be ticklish, according to people who know about the talks.
PepsiCo paid around Rs.396 crore in 2012 for title sponsorship of the IPL for a five-year period of 2013 and 2017. It has to pay about Rs. 160 crore for 2016 and 2017. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) rules, a new sponsor coming in Pepsi’s place will have to pay this amount and an additional 10%.
This is daunting, especially given that Chennai Super Kings, a major IPL draw, is out this year. So is Rajasthan Royals, which had won IPL’s first edition. Both were suspended on allegations of fixing by their owners.
One97’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma declined comment on the deal, but said he was gung-ho about the game. “Cricket is this country’s religion. Teams can come and go, but I don’t think cricket will ever go out of this country’s bloodstream,” Sharma told HT over the phone.
Recent media reports quoted experts as saying they expected the value of IPL’s title sponsorship to fall 25% to 30% because of the fixing slur, the reason cited by Pepsi for wanting to pull out. Pepsi, however, remains in talks with the BCCI.
However, BCCI has given assurances to all concerned that two new teams will step in this year, keeping the number of matches the same as last year. Cricket sponsorship deals are mostly calculated on the basis of the number of matches. “Potentially, both the new teams will keep the same players that Chennai and Rajasthan had on contract with them,” said a person close to the talks.
A final decision on both the title sponsorship and the new teams is likely by the end of this month.
Sharma’s young company recently agreed to pay Rs. 203 crore to become the title sponsor for four years for all of BCCI’s cricket matches – 84 Tests, ODIs, and T20s. That works out to Rs. 2.42 crore per match. The IPL is a separate deal.