Mumbai, Oct. 3: The BCCI’s title sponsorship has fetched far less than usual, prompting suggestions that scandals and greed have begun to hurt the golden goose though the cricket board blamed the economic situation.
STAR India and ESPN Software have bagged the BCCI’s title sponsorship at the base price of Rs 2 crore a match for the next six months. The fee is Rs 1.3 crore less than the Rs 3.3 crore Airtel, the previous title sponsor, paid for each fixture.
The new deal will allow STAR-ESPN to attach their names before every international and domestic match played in India from October 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014.
STAR and ESPN were the only takers for the title sponsorship. Mobile manufacturer Micromax, the other bidder, backed out. In 2010, Airtel had won the title bid after nudging out five competitors in the last leg. Ten companies had picked up bid documents.
Sources said that the interest waned after the IPL spot-fixing broke. The wobbling economy did not help either.
“Rather than concentrating on less or more price, we should concentrate on what you are getting as per the market situation. We are quite happy that as per the market situation, the price is not bad,” said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.
But Shailendra Singh of Percept, who has represented former team sponsor Sahara and title sponsor Airtel, said the downturn has had little to do with the devaluation.
“Recession does not hit cricket — we are a single-sport platform country. The big-ticket corporate sponsor only has cricket to spend on if he wants to associate with a sports brand. This is a rationalisation of prices. After the super-success of IPL Season 1, the BCCI began deciding on pricing over cups of coffee in their boardrooms. Initially, people paid up but over time, a correction was bound to happen,” Singh said.
“Corporate sponsors look for clean and non-controversial platforms to spend. Cricket today is anything but that,” Singh added.