The BCCI has invited a fresh tender for the rights to the Indian cricket teams’ kit and official merchandise. This puts in doubt the continuation of apparel giant Nike’s 14-year-old association with Indian cricket.

Nike had been manufacturing the kits for both India’s men and women international teams, and was their official merchandise supplier. The company’s last deal – worth INR 370 crore ($50 million approx.) over four years – comes up for renewal in September.

In 2016, Nike had pledged the decided amount for the extension of its deal. The fresh tender suggests the two partners have not been able to reach a similar agreement this time around. 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.

During the pandemic, the BCCI has had to cut short South Africa’s tour of India and cancel the Asia Cup and the tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The women’s team didn’t make their trip to England.

Given Nike’s supposed request for a deal at a discounted price, the BCCI is believed to have taken the route of a fresh tender in the interest of fairness to others who might want to sponsor Indian cricket. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of Nike bidding too, but it will likely be at a slashed price. It is not yet clear if Nike was offered a first right of refusal by the virtue of being the incumbent sponsor.

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