Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) is still recovering from the massive losses that it incurred during the 2011 World Cup. Paucity of funds was rankling the board big time and they were literally struggling for survival. But thanks to the new sponsorship deal that the board inked with the Sri Lanka Tea Board and telecommunication company Dialog Axiata, the board can not only breathe easy but can also hope to promote cricket in the country with the surplus.
The board signed up for the new 3-year sponsorship deal on the “home and away” basis. While the Sri Lanka Tea Board will be the primary sponsor of Sri Lanka cricket in all their away matches, Telecommunications major Dialog Axiata will be the sponsor for all their home matches. While the Tea Borad shelled out Sri Lankan Rupees 530 million (approx. US$ 4.15 million) to close the deal, Dialog are understood to have paid around Sri Lankan Rupees 700 million (approx. US $5.47 million).
Important point to be noted here is that both Dialog and the Tea Board had actually bid for the total rights of both home and away matches. Infact, Dialog had actually bid considerably higher than the Tea Board and logically they should have won the “total rights”. However, SLC sought a compromise in order to accommodate greater national interests and in the process allowed the Tea Board to hold the rights for all away games. The Tea Board is a goverment owned entity that produces and promotes tea in the country which is indeed Sri Lanka’s pride alongwith its cricket.
The Tea Board’s sponsorship starts with the Tri-series in the West Indies that begins on June 28. India is the third side in the series. Plantation Industries Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Samarasinghe said “Sri Lankan Tea and the national cricket team has been able to bring honour and fame to the country. We are proud to sponsor Sri Lanka Cricket “.
The deal comes as a new lease of life for SLC as they will receive more than 100% of the amount that was paid by the previous team sponsor in the previous three-year cycle. Let’s HOPE this deal turns around SLC.