Sahara ups bid to Rs 5 bn to bag Team India sponsorship

MUMBAI: It‘s been seen on the India cricket team colours for the past five years. Now, viewers of matches involving the Indian national team will get to see the Sahara logo emblazoned on Team India for the next four years too. Reason: Sahara has bagged the rights to sponsor the team, beating back bids from Airtel. The Sahara bid at Rs 33.4 million per match was way ahead of Airtel‘s Rs 28.9 million per match.

Team India will be playing between 150 and 170 matches in the next four years. That took the tab that Sahara will be coughing up at about Rs 5 billion or Rs 5.67 billion depending on the number of matches. Sahara had earlier bid Rs 4 billion for its four year association with the cricket team which ended in December 2009. Since there were no bidders than Sahara had agreed to continue for the next six months.

Under the old deal Sahara was paying Rs. 19.09 million for a Test match, Rs 20.89 million for an ODI and Rs 15.67 million for a T20 match.

The sponsorship of the India A team, Under 19 team and women‘s team has not yet been finalised. It‘s possible that Airtel could take these up. The base price for the women‘s team is Rs. 1 million a match. For the other two teams it is Rs. 2.5 million.

Sahara will have to provide a bank guarantee for the full bid amount within three days. Also at the start of each year it will have to pay the sponsorship money for that period.

Percept joint MD Shailendra Singh, advisor for Sahara and Airtel explained the move to sponsor the Indian team. "It is a corporate sponsorship and the main aim is to get maximum eyeballs. The next year being the world cup, the Sahara group will get the most mileage out of this. It will also increase emotional connect with Indians."

He did not feel that the price is too expensive. "Subrohata Roy makes an aggressive step to connect with as many Indians as possible since the world cup next year is in India and so shelling out the money for the team sponsorship will only magnify the exposure one gets by many fold."

Earlier, Reliance ADAG, Videocon, Monnet Ispat and Energy, Hero Handa, Percept and Nimbus had also decided to bid but they balked after the sponsorship amount started travelling northward. The Indian cricket board did not allow agencies to bid. Interestingly both Sahara and Airtel are clients of Percept.

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