With Nike’s ongoing four-year deal with the Indian cricket teams coming to an end this September, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has invited bids for team kit sponsor and official merchandising partner.

Nike’s current deal as kit partner of the BCCI was worth Rs 370 crore, which included Rs 85 lakh per match fee and a royalty of over Rs 30 crore to the board. Nike has been associated with Indian cricket now for a period of 14 years after signing a $43-million deal in December 2005 by outbidding rivals Reebok and Adidas, according to ESPNCricinfo.

According to reports, Nike’s business suffered during the lockdown and it was seeking an extension for lost time at a discount.

The Board, it now seems, has not agreed to Nike’s proposal and has invited bids for Team Kit Sponsor and Official Merchandising Partner Rights.

While that does not necessarily rule Nike out from returning, the global sporting equipment giants is not expected to submit a fresh proposal for the new period which begins on October 1, according to Inside Sport.

The interesting thing about the bids will be to see whether the BCCI manages to get a good enough deal even though all businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past, the BCCI has managed to make the most of cricket’s status as the No 1 sport in India. But now, many companies may choose to tread carefully given the uncertain times that lie ahead.

In September 2017, Star India won the Indian Premier League’s media rights for the next five years after submitting a global consolidated winning bid of Rs 16,347.50 crore. That’s Rs 3,269.50 crore per season.

The last IPL media rights deal, signed in 2009 with Sony Pictures Networks, was worth Rs 820 crore per season. This means the current deal is worth almost four times more than the previous one.

In April 2018, Star also retained the television broadcast and digital rights for all domestic cricket under the BCCI for the next five years at a whopping Rs 6,138.1 crore. The figure was significantly higher than Star TV’s record 2012 bid of Rs 3,851 crore.

But will that golden run continue or will we now see a course correction of sorts?