Sahara has bagged the rights to continue as the sponsors for the Indian National Cricket team till the end of December 2013 for a whopping Rs. 3.34 crores ($719,000) per match! This comes just a couple of months after the same group bought the Pune franchisee in the Indian Premier League. Surprisingly, Bharati Airtel was Sahara's only competitor.
Sahara has spent Rs 407 crores ($88 million) in the last four years for the Indian sponsorship and has been making BCCI richer. This new deal will only help make the already rich board even richer! Now the BCCI is set to earn an extra of Rs 85 crores ($18.5 million).
The deal was confirmed by Abhijit Sarkar, who happens to be the corporate affairs head at Sahara, as he went on to say, "We (Sahara) take pride in sponsoring the Indian national team." However the group that takes pride in sponsoring the national team's kit was only interested in the men's team and completely ignored the Woman's, India A and the under-19 team.
Sponsoring for the Woman's, India A and the under-19 team would have cost the group somewhere between Rs. 10 crores ($2.17 million) to Rs. 15 crores ($3.26 million), which is equivalent to about sponsoring 4 matches for the men's team. Sadly the Sahara group nor any other company is interested and think it worth while. In fact even the BCCI isn't bothered about the small amount they might get through the teams and aren't going to make any efforts to get other sponsors, which makes us ask the question.
Is it really national pride or all about the money?