The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is actively on the lookout for a title sponsor for the Indian Premier League (IPL), and prospective bidders face stringent conditions outlined in the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document. Notably, the BCCI has signaled its reluctance to entertain bids from Chinese companies, emphasizing its desire to avoid associations with nations lacking friendly relations with India.
This cautious stance follows a previous negative experience with Vivo, a Chinese smartphone maker, which exited a five-year sponsorship agreement amidst the India-China border standoff. Vivo’s departure opened the door for the Tata Group to assume sponsorship rights.
The ITT document includes a clause specifying that corporate entities seeking to bid must not be incorporated in jurisdictions with which India does not have friendly relations. Furthermore, if any shareholder is incorporated in such a jurisdiction, detailed shareholding information, including ultimate ownership details, must be provided.
In addition to the Chinese exclusion, the BCCI is rejecting bids from companies associated with fantasy games, sportswear, cryptocurrency, betting, gambling firms, and even those involved in the production of sportswear. The eligibility criteria also extend to companies operating from tax havens like Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands.
The need for a new title sponsor arises as the previous deal with the Tata Group concluded after the last season. The upcoming sponsorship agreement is set to span five years, lasting until 2028, with a reserve price of INR 360 crore per year, aligning with the Tata Group’s previous payments.
Despite the IPL’s global prominence, the initial response to the sponsorship tender has not been overwhelmingly positive. However, there is still time for interested parties to purchase the ITT document, a prerequisite for bidding, until January 8.
The bidding process is expected to occur around January 13-14, and given the IPL’s status, there is anticipation that a reputable firm will eventually secure the sponsorship at a favorable price.