Nike’s 15-year association with the BCCI officially ended on Tuesday with the board awarding the kit sponsorship rights for the next three years to MPL Sports, an e-sports platform.
MPL’s deal will stretch up to December 2023, during which the Indian teams are slated to feature in a total of three T20 World Cups (men’s and women’s), two 50-over World Cups (men’s and women’s), one Under-19 World Cup (men) and – if the men’s team qualifies for it – one ICC World Test Championship final, apart from regular bilateral cricket.
The announcement came after Nike decided against renewing their deal worth INR 370 crore (US$ 50 million) a year, which they signed in 2016.
Owing to the Covid-19-induced lockdown and absence of cricket, Nike is believed to have asked for an extension to its four-year contract or a renewal at a discounted price when their deal was up for renewal in September. Subsequently, the BCCI floated a fresh tender, reportedly in the interest of fairness to other prospective sponsors.
During the pandemic, the BCCI has had to cut short South Africa’s tour of India and cancel the Asia Cup and tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe for the men’s team. The women’s team hasn’t played international cricket since their appearance at the T20 World Cup final in March.
As part of their deal, MPL Sports will design and manufacture jerseys worn by the men’s, women’s and Under-19 teams.
MPL’s deal starts with India’s tour of Australia that begins with the first of three ODIs on November 27 in Sydney. India will then play three T20Is and four Tests, before returning home to host England for a full series.