Sahara India to renew sponsorship of Indian hockey

NEW DELHI: After pulling out of cricket, the national obsession, Sahara India is all set to sign a five-year contract to renew its sponsorship deal for the national sport, hockey.

Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narinder Batra told IANS that Sahara has decided to renew its sponsorship contract with men and women's in both senior and junior categories.

"We have not decided the final figures but there will be a substantial hike in the new contract. We will make an official announcement soon," Batra told IANS.

Asked how much the new sponsorship deal would be worth, Batra said: "We are still working out the final figures."

Sources in the Sahara told IANS that the new contract would be anywhere between Rs.14-15 crore per annum, which would be a huge jump from Rs.3 crore.

Sahara's association with the Indian hockey team as a national sponsor started in 2003 following the pullout of Castrol, when the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was running the game in the country. The eight-year contract ended in 2011 and the extended six-month period also ended in January.

The Team India will be seen sporting the Sahara India logo during the Olympic qualifiers for both men and women here Feb 18-26.

Sahara decision to sponsor Indian hockey comes in the wake of its pull-out both as the chief sponsor of the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) after 11 years of association and as the owner of Pune Warriors franchise in the Indian Premier League ( IPL).