Sahara today seems synonymous with the Indian cricket team. Ever since it bailed out a cash-strapped BCCI during the ICC Champions Trophy at Sri Lanka in 2002, the Sahara logo has been emblazoned on the uniform of Indian cricket stars.
This might change. With Sahara's sponsorship contract coming up for renewal this November-end, several other companies have jumped into the fray - among them are Videocon, Pepsi, Bajaj and Airtel. The fight is expected to be tough, especially as Sahara seems to have lost some of its pull with BCCI bosses.
Apart from the consideration to go with anyone who can top the Sahara offer, the BCCI search is also being driven by the grudge the Board has against alleged delay in payments by Sahara. Is is learnt that BCCI is not happy with irregular payments by Sahara.
When contacted by TOI, a top Sahara official denied the allegation. “Till the contract is on, we are also on. If anything happens later, we will let you know,” he said. But that all is not well between the partners was apparent from his next remark.
He said BCCI was unnecessarily raising the issue of late payments when the Board itself was guilty of producing the bills late.