Despite just one bid and the sponsorship rights going for its base price, the Board of Control for Cricket in India expressed satisfaction with its deal with Star India Pvt Ltd and ESPN for all 13 home international fixtures till March 2014.
The BCCI on Thursday awarded the title sponsorship for all international series and domestic tournaments in India for the 2013-14 to Star Private and ESPN Software at the base price of Rs 2 crore per fixture, almost Rs 1.5 crore less when compared to the previous deal with Airtel.
"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 the price)," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters after the BCCI's Marketing Committee meeting in Mumbai.
"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," Patel said.
"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."
The new deal comes after Airtel's partnership with the BCCI ended this year. The private 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.
There was a three-month window for Airtel to negotiate an extension of the contract, but with no further discussion on the matter, the Marketing Committee floated fresh tender document last month.
Patel dismissed suggestions that the recent IPL spot-fixing scandal 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," Patel said.
Asked if the Board had decided to include the home series against the West Indies to make up for the revenue, the BCCI secretary said the idea was to please 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."
Two international series at home have been scheduled by the BCCI for the season -- the seven-match ODI series and a T20 game against Australia, followed by two Tests and three ODIs against the West Indies.
The title sponsorship rights will extend to domestic events such as Irani Cup, Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Vijay Hazare, Deodhar Trophy and Raj Singh Dungarpur Trophy.