The Tatas, owing to their long association with Indian cricket, have put in their bid to become official sponsors for the Indian cricket team. The Indian cricket team sponsorship bid by the Tatas will be aimed at a brand building tool for the Tata Group as a whole and not for individual companies in the Tata team like Tata Steel or Tata Tea. Besides the Tatas, Korean consumer electronic majors LG Electronics and Samsung were also seen as front runners for the official sponsorship for the Indian team.
ITC had decided to withdraw its Wills Sport Cricket sponsorship after government banned sponsorship and advertisements by cigarette companies. ITC is continuing its sponsorship commitment through its Welcomgroup Hotel brand till such time the BCCI finalises an alternative one.
The recent performance of the Indian team against world champions Australia plus the fact that Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and all-rounder Ajit Agarkar both hail from Tata Steel, could also have firmed up the Tata management’s resolve to try its hand in cricket as part of a mega brand-building exercise.
Contributions from all the Tata group companies including the four big ones, Tata Steel, Tata Tea, Tata Engineering and Tata Electric, will be pooled in to make a separate fund to promote the popular blue Tata logo on the shirts of Indian cricketers.
Cricket celebrities like Ravi Shastri, Raju Kulkarni, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kiran More and Saba Karim had all hailed from the house of Tatas. Several players who play at the national and zonal levels also come from the Tata group. BCCI sources said that while ITC’s sponsorship was estimated to be around Rs 45 crore annually, the Tatas were believed to be ready with a kitty of around Rs 60 crore annually.
The new sponsorship arrangement is likely to be finalised by early April, just in time for the next Zimbabwe fixtures.