Dhaka: India's business giant Sahara Group is set to become the new sponsor of the Bangladesh cricket team after offering $9.4 million over four years in a tender process that ended on Wednesday, officials said.
"We are delighted to announce that Sahara has appeared the highest bidder to become new sponsor of our national team," Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters.
"They have offered $9.4 million for four years. We will soon formally announce them as our sponsor," Kamal said, without giving any further details. Officials said Sahara offered more than double their nearest rivals Robi Axiata Ltd - a joint venture between Malaysia mobile phone operator Axiata Group and Japan's leading mobile phone service provider NTT Docomo Inc - which offered $4.28 million.
Bangladesh's top mobile phone operator Grameenphone, the team's previous sponsor and the only other bidder, offered $3.2 million, said the officials. Grameenphone paid the BCB 100 million Bangladesh takas for a two-year deal, which expired in December 2011.
Sahara, which also sponsors India's national cricket team, recently entered the Bangladesh market through its subsidiary Sahara Matribhumi Unnayan Corporation Ltd. The company said it has a primary investment plan of about $120 million for a township-housing scheme near the capital Dhaka.
Sahara, which sponsors India's men's and women's hockey teams, was co-sponsor of the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi.