BCCI releases new sponsor terms; RMG, betting brands not allowed to bid

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On Wednesday, June 14, the Board of Control for Cricket in India invited for bids for sponsoring the national cricket team, as Byju’s, its existing lead sponsor, backed out of the sponsorship deal earlier this year in March.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a recent release said, “The BCCI invites bids from reputed entities for acquiring the National Team Lead Sponsor rights”. As of now, firms can acquire bid document for a non-refundable fee of Rs 5 lakh, available for purchase till June 26, 2023.

However, the release also listed some categories of brands that are not allowed to bid for sponsorship. These included, Athleisure and Sportswear Manufacturer, Alcohol Products, Betting, Cryptocurrency, Real Money Gaming (Except Fantasy Sports Gaming), Tobacco, and, ones which are likely to offend public morals.

Purchasing ITT does not entitle to bid, says Jay Shah

“Any interested party willing to submit a bid is required to purchase the ITT. However, only those satisfying the eligibility criteria set out in the ITT and subject to the other terms and conditions set out therein, shall be eligible to bid. It is clarified that merely purchasing the ITT does not entitle any person to bid,” Shah said.

These new strict sponsorship rules can be seen as a step to curb any adverts for illegal operators, especially those illegal betting websites and their surrogates. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has already issued multiple advisories to everyone asking not to promote these kinds of websites.

MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) also recently banned over 200 domains which contained several offshore illegal betting websites that used surrogate advertising to get sponsored in a sports team jersey. These surrogate websites were acting as a news website while redirecting user to their banned website by promising bonus rewards.

Although BCCI has been strict regarding the rules and regulations of its sponsors and advertisers during different domestic as well as international tournaments, cricket boards of Pakistan and Ireland among others were seen donning jerseys sponsored by surrogate betting and gambling sites.

While the decision of the Indian cricket board is welcome and very responsible, it remains to be seen if other sports organizations and authorities follow the same route soon while selecting a sponsor.