In a blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Indian cricket team, led by Rohit Sharma, may enter the World Test Championship Final 2023 against Australia without a jersey sponsor. Byju’s, the previous jersey sponsor for the Indian cricket team, has terminated its deal, leaving the BCCI scrambling to secure a replacement. As a result, the team’s playing attire for the highly anticipated final could feature a retro look, with only the BCCI emblem and Adidas’ three stripes adorning their training gear.
The absence of jersey sponsors in modern-day cricket is highly unusual, given the emphasis on maximizing commercial opportunities. Byju’s decision to cancel its arrangement with the BCCI for jersey sponsorship in March was primarily influenced by unfavorable market conditions. The BCCI had initially planned to invite tenders for a long-term affiliation, but delays in securing a satisfactory agreement through offline negotiations have hampered the process.
Despite short-term association negotiations being on the table, the BCCI opted not to proceed. Officials emphasized the importance of forging partnerships with prestigious and long-term sponsors rather than settling for low-key deals. While the BCCI used to receive substantial amounts for each ICC match and bilateral international match, the financially robust board views the revenue from a single match as relatively insignificant. They are willing to accept the risk associated with waiting for the right sponsors.
The BCCI remains hopeful of securing suitable partners in time for the home World Cup scheduled for October-November, given their recent five-year contract with Adidas and the busy ICC calendar, which includes a white-ball world tournament every year. Despite the optimism, it would be unprecedented to witness Indian cricket players competing in unadorned attire, as the International Cricket Council (ICC) permits advertising spaces on the leading and non-leading arms of the white attire worn during the WTC Final.
The financial disparity between international cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL) becomes evident when considering the revenue generated from sponsorship opportunities. Leading IPL franchises like the Mumbai Indians reap over 100 crores every season through various sponsorship deals. While the value of ICC events has increased over time, the BCCI is committed to finding long-term partners to maximize the potential of Indian cricket.