The Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) has just confirmed selection of Chinese mobile phone brand OPPO as the main sponsor of the Indian cricket team for the next five years, starting April 1, 2017.
The earlier sponsor was Star India that had won the contract with a bid of Rs 538 crore. The OPPO contract is expected to exceed that amount, though the exact value of the contract is yet to be disclosed.
Companies had bid through a competitive tender process for the prestigious team India sponsorship rights and this was the first of the large commercial contracts signed under the supervision of the new BCCI team appointed by the Supreme Court.
Star India’s Chairman and CEO, Uday Shankar, spoke to the media earlier stating that they were withdrawing from the bid process due to uncertainty of revenue sharing terms between the BCCI and ICC.
It is interesting to see Chinese companies boldly emerging as sponsors of not just the Indian cricket team, but other sports as well. In recent years, Chinese companies have been very active in stepping up sponsorships of sportspersons and events and that augurs well for sports development in India.
OPPO has been associated with Indian cricket for some time. In 2014, the brand won the rights as the title sponsors of the T20 Champions League, and later for IPL 2016, the brand was appointed as one of the associate sponsors.
The Indian cricket platform has evinced strong interest from Chinese mobile companies like OPPO and Vivo, a trend likely to continue when the title sponsorship rights for the 2018 edition of IPL comes up for bidding. Sony, currently, holds the sponsorship rights for the 2017 IPL.
What About Other Sports?
While all formats of cricket will continue to remain a cash cow for BCCI, it’s the other sports that urgently need more funds to flow in. Sporting associations in India have been too busy fighting to control their own fiefdoms and have not been very proactive in bringing in funds for sports development, especially at the sub-junior and junior level.
Chinese companies like Li-Ning and Japanese companies like Yonex have been active in promoting Badminton in India, but several Olympic sports require urgent infusion of funds. Sports like Kabaddi and Wrestling have made a good beginning by taking a leaf from the IPL experience and the response from sports fans has been very encouraging.
Let’s hope other sports find godfathers like OPPO and soon.