Embattled Board of Control for Cricket in India has received another jolt. The premier television network and title sponsor of the Indian cricket team since 2014, Star India will not support its brand on the Blue Jersey. Star has clearly said that it will not bid for certain BCCI rights in the future.
Incidentally, Star is not attributing this decision to the market forces. “Given all the volatility, we are indeed concerned about the health of cricket in the days ahead,” Star India chairman and CEO Uday Shankar has told the Times of India in an interview. “No one seems to be talking about making cricket bigger and more popular. We have been very proud that our name is carried on the jersey of Team India. But given all the uncertainties, we have decided not to bid for it again. The commitments being asked for are too onerous without any clarity.”
Star India has been paying to BCCI Rs. 1.92 crore for each bilateral series match. The figure was already far below Rs 3.34 crore per match as the previous sponsor, Sahara India, paid towards the end of its 13-year sponsorship stint.
Star India’s commitment to the BCCI for the ICC events has been around Rs 61 lakh since the Indian team (and other teams) is now allowed to display the sponsor-brand logo in front of the shirt. Star India’s deal covered the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 and also the ICC Twenty20 in India 2016.
The on-going four-Test home series against Australia will be the last time Team India will wear the jersey with Star India logo. Who after Star India? We may have the answers soon. However, the bigger question is will the next sponsor be able to match the figures committed by Star?