German sports apparel company Puma appears to be the front runner-up in bagging the Indian cricket team's kit sponsorship rights.
It has been learned that Puma has bought the ITT (Invitation to Tender) document worth Rs. 1 lakh.
According to reports, Puma's rival Adidas could also enter the fray.
Meanwhile, it is yet to be ascertained whether Nike would re-bid for the same.
"I can confirm you that Puma has bought the ITT (Invitation to Tender) document worth Rs. 1 lakh. While buying bid document doesn't mean one is bidding, Puma has shown genuine interest in submitting a bid," a senior BCCI official told PTI.
There have been speculations that Puma could clinch the sponsorship rights as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) earlier trimmed the base price to Rs. 61 lakh per game.
The price is down to 30 per cent (Rs. 88 lakh), which Nike had been shelling out.
Notably, Puma has Indian skipper Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador (Rs. 100 crore).
It is understood that Adidas too has shown interest in bagging the rights, however, an official confirmation is awaited.
The German giant could independently bid for merchandise products.
An industry veteran revealed another brand Nike declined BCCI's offer.
"BCCI offered Nike the first right of refusal and that too a scaled down offer which they declined," he said.
Even if a company doesn't grab the sponsorship rights, the bid for merchandise products could have a separate tender.
Selling of exclusive merchandise products depends on how many stores a company has, along with the point of sales.
While Puma has over 350 exclusive stores, Adidas has more than 450 outlets across the country.
Hence, the two companies are in line for the deal.
Of late, BCCI has been in touch with companies in the other sectors as well. The tender has garnered interest from brands such as BYJU'S. However, TOI recently reported that such companies much have an association with a sports kit manufacturer.
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