The Badminton Association of India has signed a three-year sponsorship contract with Japanese sports equipment manufacturer Yonex worth Rs 75 crore.
Under the contract, Yonex will supply equipment to the BAI for all their tournaments, camps and academies. In return, the equipment manufacturer will hold title sponsorship rights for all tournaments held under the aegis of the federation.
The BAI claimed that it was the first Olympic sports federation in the country to sign such a “mega commercial partnership”.
“We are really very happy with this new deal going through and will give us financial stability going forward and will help us to develop and promote the sport further in the country,” said BAI President Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.
BAI Secretary General Ajay Singhania added, “This is a huge development for badminton in the country and further cements our reputation as one of the best Olympic sports federations in India. This is unprecedented and will take badminton to the next level in the country.”
The BAI had invited tenders from leading equipment manufacturers in India on April 11. However, two days later, the federation released an addendum with eligibility criteria for potential bidders. According to the addendum, the applicant should have achieved an average annual turnover of at least Rs 300 crore globally from overall activities during the past three financial years, along with an average annual turnover of at least Rs 200 crore from overall activities in India alone during the last three financial years.
Did these two criteria then ensure that no other company apart from Yonex was able to bid for the rights? Other badminton equipment companies such as Li Ning, Victor and Babolat do not have a sizeable presence in India. BAI Secretary General Ajay Singhania clarified that either of the two criteria with respect to annual turnover – Rs 300 crore globally or Rs 200 crore in India – needed to be fulfilled. However, this was not clear in the addendum.
As a result Yonex was the only company that applied for the rights by the last date for submission, which was originally April 26. As per government norms, the federation then extended the deadline to April 30, but still did not receive any other bid. Singhania said that Chinese manufacturer Victor had downloaded the bid document but did not submit it.