Star India win India sponsorship rights

Image courtesy of: India Times

India’s 12-year partnership with Sahara has come to an end

Star India have won the rights to sponsor the Indian team from January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017 after submitting the highest bid.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Star India’s bid was worth Rs 19.2 million (US$315,000 approx) per match during a bilateral series and Rs 6.1 million (US$100,000 approx) per match for International Cricket Council (ICC) sponsored tournaments.

With Star India having won the sponsorship rights, India’s 12-year partnership with Sahara has come to an end.

Star India is also the title sponsors for India’s international and domestic matches till March 31, 2014, and they currently hold the broadcast, internet and mobile rights to the national team’s matches until March 2018.

“Two bidders – Star India Pvt Ltd and Sahara India Financial Corporation – were in the fray. Sahara’s bid was found to be ineligible,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) release said.

Sahara have expressed their disappointment at losing out on the sponsorship rights and even questioned whether their frosty relationship with the BCCI swayed them in choosing Star India as their new sponsors.

“This [legal] dispute has been happening from May,” Abhijit Sarkar, a Sahara spokesperson, told ESPNcricinfo. “So why did they [the BCCI] continue to take money from us under the existing sponsorship rights, which we hold till December 31. They raised the technical issue just because they wanted to disqualify us.

“If they had an objection, they should have told us when we were picking up the tender. Even after us having done that, they could have told us your bid would not be considered since there is a legal dispute going on.”

Sanjay Gupta, Star India’s chief operating officer, stated that the company had decided to bid for the sponsorship rights to the Indian team in order to expand their brand.

“We saw the power of how on-air television and sponsorship of a series could add value [to the Star brand],” Gupta said.

Star India recently launched six new sports channels and Gupta pointed out that the company started airing them when the first Test between the West Indies and India got underway on November 6.

“Though the match ended in three-and-a-half days, the awareness of the Star Sports refresh [new channels] was still 90%,” he said. “If you used other methods – TV communication and other media venues – it would have taken a much longer period. So this is a very interesting way to use sporting assets to build brands.”

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