In what should serve as a warning for the cash-rich Indian cricket board, its perennially spiraling team sponsorship rights fee has taken a big dip. On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sold the rights, between January, 2014 and March, 2017, for Rs. 1.92 crore per international match to Star India.
The Sahara Group, sponsors from 2010 until the year end, were paying Rs. 3.34 crore per match. This time Sahara and Star were the only two bidders and BCCI deemed the former's bid ineligible.
The signs are rather ominous. Seven parties collected the bid document paying Rs. 2 lakh but only two eventually entered the fray – BCCI's broadcast partners Star India and the Sahara Group.
The board's marketing panel opened the bids in Chennai and decided to award the rights to Star. The Sahara Group, which had a bitter fallout with the Board over the termination of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise, cried foul.
A Sahara spokesman alleged the process was "stage managed" and that the company's bid was much higher - Rs. 2.35 crore per BCCI match and Rs. 91 lakh for ICC games. Its total bid was around Rs. 252 crore, almost Rs. 50 crore more than Star, he said.
The allegations will only focus unwanted attention on the BCCI, already mired in controversies.