Leading telcos Airtel and Idea Cellular, as well as mobile handset companies Micromax and Karbonn Mobiles have bid for the series sponsorship rights of all international cricket matches to be played in India for a two-and-a-half-year period from September 1. The matches include all test series, one-day series and T-20 tournaments in which the Indian team participates.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which had invited bids, had fixed today evening as the deadline for submission of tender documents. Confirming the identities of the bidders, Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of BCCI, said: "Ten companies had purchased the tender documents, out of which four of them have submitted their bids." The BCCI Marketing Committee will meet in Mumbai on Friday to decide the sponsor for the period.
The financial bids will be opened in the presence of the bidders. The reserve price has been set at Rs 2 crore per match. The Board had barred agencies — including those engaged in audio-video production services of live cricket — from participating in the bid or representing any corporate entity in the process. The successful bidder, apart from the title sponsorship, will also get to advertise its brand on the wickets as well as on in-stadia advertising space.
BCCI made around $46 million in revenues the last time by giving out the series sponsorship rights, which had been up for bids. World Sports Group (WSG) had acquired the title, ground and rights of all international matches played in India for a two-year period up to March. BCCI has now opted to call for fresh bids rather than renew the contract with WSG.
Interestingly, it is the telecom industry that will be dominating the bids. Airtel, for instance, has been an old hand at cricket sponsorship and has just recently bagged the prestigious Champions League T-20 title sponsorship for a period of five years. Twelve international club cricket teams particpate in this tournament.
Karbonn Mobile, however, is the new kid on the block and came into the limelight by grabbing the mobile phone partner position for the prestigious IPL T-20 this year. Micromax, which is another new player in the mobile phone space, has also been in the cricket sponsorship arena—it was the title sponsor for the Asia Cup 2010, christened the Micromax Mobile Asia Cup 2010.
These two companies have been able to carve out a substantial marketshare for their products after they took to cricket and made their brands household names, challenging the big boys like Nokia, whose share has shrunk, according to estimates by industry experts.
Idea Cellular has also been in the cricket sponsorship space and had last year taken the title sponsorship for the Indian cricket tour to Bangladesh.
Also up for discussion at the meeting on Friday will be issues related to the number of matches to be played during the fourth edition of the IPL. Ten teams, including Sahara Pune Warriors and the new Kochi franchisee, will feature in the tournament next year. Sources indicate that it may not be viable to play 94 matches and that BCCI may seek to limit the number of matches to 74 in the fourth edition.
The passing of the accounts of IPL-3 will also feature in tomorrow’s meeting.