Indian cricket: nearly on top, no sponsor

December 4, 2009

Even as the Indian cricket team comes close to clinching the top test team ranking, there were no takers this week for the team sponsorship for the next four years.

CRICKET/LANKASo the Indian cricket board was forced to extend Sahara’s sponsorship of the team till June after no “serious” bidders emerged.

Local media have reported that the board, already the richest in the world, was seeking up to $120 million for a four-year contract, up nearly a fifth from Sahara’s old contract.

Clearly, the board expected that firms in India were untouched by the financial crisis that has forced even large companies to back out of sponsorship deals with the English Premier League and pull out of Formula 1 racing.

And that the Indian fan’s appetite for cricket will be undimmed despite the ever-increasing number of matches.

Or have sponsors realised that with so much cricket and with players endorsing a whole gamut of other brands, they were not getting as much bang for the buck?

The board has had a good run these last few years, raking in money from sponsorship deals that rival even the EPL, and from two seasons of the Indian Premier League.

Perhaps the downturn has made even cricket-crazy sponsors a little wary of too much of a good thing.

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