N Srinivasan's BCCI grants sponsorship rights to Star, ESPN in cut-price deal

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 4 2013, 01:54am hrs
N SrinivasanMarketing Committee of the BCCI met in Mumbai to receive the bids made for Title Sponsorship of cricket series in the 2013-14 season. (PTI)
With just one bidder in fray, the N Srinivasan-led BCCI BCCI today awarded the title sponsorship for all domestic and international tournaments in India for the year 2013-14 to Star Private Ltd. and ESPN Software at the base price of Rs two crore per fixture, almost Rs 1.5 crore less than the previous deal with Airtel.

The new deal was inked at the BCCI 's marketing committee meeting here today and Board secretary Sanjay Patel said they were not disappointed with the reduced price considering the "turmoil in the financial market".

"The Marketing Committee has awarded the Title Sponsorship Rights for all series to be played in India in the 2013-14 season to Star India Pvt. Ltd and ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd, at a fee of Rs 2 crore per international match," Patel said.

There are two international series scheduled during the period between October, 2013 and March, 2014 -- the seven-match ODI series and a T20 game between India and Australia, followed by two Tests and three ODIs against the West Indies.

"The market situation is such that at one point of time we thought it will be very difficult to get the sponsorship considering the turmoil in the financial market. But we are very happy (with price)," Patel told reporters after the meeting here.

"We are pleased that Star and ESPN Group bid for both the series. That means Australia and West Indies (series) and the deal will be close to Rs 26 crore. Only one bid was there and the minimum bidding price (is what) they have accepted.

"But we are happy they have included the Australia series also though it is starting within two or three days. Under the market situation, we are happy the deal has gone through and the entire series is covered," he said.

Patel dismissed suggestions that the recent spot-fix controversies surrounding the Board's cash-rich IPL had marred its prospects in selling the rights at a better price.

"I don't think negative news has got anything to do with these kind of things. Cricket is going on well. Our teams are doing good. It is not attributed to any image (of the Board). According to us there is no question of a bad image."

Asked if the Board had decided to include the home series against West Indies to make up for the revenue, the BCCI Secretary said the idea was to please the fans by pencilling in more matches in India.

"There were a couple of reasons because BCCI is also committed to its local fans. Somehow, for the season 2013-14, only 24 days, if I am not wrong, was the home series (duration of Australia tour including non-match days). So obviously we were worried, and we are quite happy that West Indies series has been finalised."

Patel said considering the economic downturn, the BCCI has managed to get a decent deal.

"The deal is always market driven. One has to be happy with the market situation. 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," he asserted.

Sponsorship rights will extend to domestic events such as Irani Cup, Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Vijay Hazare, Deodhar Trophy and Raj Singh Dungarpur Trophy.

The new deal comes after Airtel's partnership with the BCCI ended this year.

The telecom giant had won the sponsorship rights in 2010 for all international and domestic matches scheduled in India.

The three-year contract, running from September 1, 2010 to March 31, 2013, was worth Rs 3.33 crore for each international fixture. Airtel was also allowed branding on stumps and fixed slots for in-stadium advertising as part of the deal.

There was a three-month window for Airtel to negotiate an extension of the contract, but with no further discussion on the matter, the BCCI's marketing committee floated fresh tender document last month.

Former president Manohar and BCCI ruling group in war of words

Former BCCI president and eminent lawyer Shashank Manohar was today engaged in a proxy war of words with current BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel over the Tamil Nadu strongman clinging to his hot seat in the richest cricket body of the world.

Manohar, who has always had a clean image as an administrator, tore apart Srinivasan in an interview to the tabloid 'Mumbai Mirror'.

"If you had the slightest of conscience, self-esteem and care for the board, you ought to have put in your papers the moment your son-in-law was arrested. You did nothing and as a result the board's reputation has taken a hit to the extent that the people have lost faith in this board," Manohar was quoted as saying by the tabloid.

The Nagpur-based lawyer even accused Srinivasan of tarnishing the image of the BCCI which he said has been built over years, within four months.

"This board has been built over the years by very many people but its reputation has been damaged by this man (Srinivasan) in a span of four months," he was further quoted.

Although Baroda CA's Patel was not as scathing in his attack of Manohar, he did make it clear that latter's statements hasn't gone down too well.

"I would like to say nothing more except that if any ex-BCCI official, before making any remarks about their colleagues on the Board, should have considered that BCCI is running with (the help of) all the office bearers," Patel said after the marketing committee meeting in Mumbai.

"My personal view is that it is always the collective responsibility of all office bearers. One cannot absolve himself by leaving aside the others. I don't know much in detail about the issue but that is the only thing I can say," Patel said.

Manohar had submitted an affidavit in the High Court to clear his name from the cases filed against the BCCI by the Enforcement Directorate but Patel views this move as something that amounts to shirking responsibility.

"There was no question of affidavit (filed by Manohar in the Bombay Hight Court) being discussed. But (what was discussed) was the case fought by Shashank Manohar in his individual way (capacity) leaving aside the other office bearers and the employees of BCCI. That thing was discussed. Members were not happy with the kind of thing that has happened," Patel said here.

"BCCI rules and regulations and memorandum is very clear. The Board is functioning under the superintendence (authority) of the president. The entire Board is together on the issue. That is why, the issue was discussed in the AGM and the members have shown their displeasure," he added.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sancklecha, while quashing the ED notice, observed that ED had not considered the material placed by Manohar before it.

The ED, on June 6, 2013, had issued notice initiating adjudication proceedings against Manohar under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regarding a bank account opened in South Africa by BCCI and IPL ahead of the cricketing event.

The agency had issued the notice asking the former BCCI president to appear before them, pursuant to a show cause notice sent earlier to Manohar.

"The agency had not considered the material placed by Manohar before it stating that he was not involved in the opening of the bank account and that he had advised the IPL governing council to inform the RBI before opening an account," the High Court bench said.