Sunday 6 February 2011 

Pune Stadium Named 'Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium'

Pune Stadium Named 'Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium'
Pune Stadium Named 'Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium'
 

Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has announced that its ultra modern Stadium at Pune is being named ‘Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium’. ICC President Mr. Sharad Pawar has made an announcement in this regard.

Originally the stadium was proposed to be christened after the name of Sahara India Group, but owing to technical reasons whereby rules did not permit naming after any Corporate brand or Company name, MCA thought of naming the state-of-the-art stadium after the name of the visionary Chairman and Managing Worker of Sahara India Pariwar, as Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. The proposal which after active insistence by MCA, that Mr Roy has reluctantly agreed to accept.

Maharashtra Cricket Association has embarked upon building its own stadium and work on the project started in 2007 after locating a suitable land at Gahunje; alongside the Expressway.

This ultra modern stadium is being built in two phases and the work for the first phase started in the November 2009. Designed by world renowned architects Hopkins from UK the work is being carried out by Shapoorji Pallonji and company.

One of the major challenges before the association was to secure financial closure of the project as the large investment required to build such a state-of-the-art stadium was beyond the reach of the association alone. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) initially assisted the project by increasing the grant for the stadium to Rs 50 crores; and this decision was taken under its then BCCI President and present ICC President Mr Sharad Pawar, for which we are indebted to the board and to Mr. Pawar to make this stadium become a reality.

Thereafter the MCA studied various option to complete the funding and secure the financial closure including study of funding patterns of international projects with a view to have the stadium asset created and to make the same debt free within a short term of three to four years. Selling of membership, creation of a club, and other options were also perused and detailed surveys were made by IMG and Ac Nielson Marg as to which would be the best possible way forward.

At the same time, the BCCI announced that two more IPL teams would be auctioned. Sahara India Pariwar which ended up as being the top bidder for the new team immediately saw the merits of the stadium and its advantages viz-a-viz other venues and unhesitatingly chose Pune for its new team the Sahara Pune Warriors.

This was a very vital decision for MCA as this changed the entire perspective of the project, not only from the point of getting a IPL team for Pune but also with being able to use the stadium on an annual basis for houseful cricket events. The viability of the project improved dramatically with an ipl team based here and the MCA thought of new methods for financial closure including offering a naming and other rights option to intending bidders. Offers for the same were invited from interested parties through advertisements and interest was expressed by three parties. Sahara India Pariwar with its own team in Pune turned out to be the best and most interested bidder and their offer for the naming and ancillary rights was unanimously accepted by the MCA.

The main features of the deal are as follows

-          Sahara will have naming rights for the stadium in perpetuity.
-          Sahara will build an ultra modern club at the site of the stadium with modern amenities and facilities with 40 rooms at their own cost and will get rights to sell membership for the club.
-          Pune Warriors team will make this stadium as their base and home ground.
-          The bid completes and secures the closure of the financial package required to build phase one and two of the stadium and the club as well.
-          MCA is immensely grateful to Sahara India Pariwar and its parent body the BCCI for having helped MCA achieve its dream of building a state-of-the-art cricket stadium which will be a boon for the millions of cricket fans and lovers of Pune and Maharashtra.