The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is probably the hardest edition to host as it is plagued with all sorts of problem, including the delay due to global health crisis and concerns on territorial disputes. Despite being all systems go in UAE on September 19, the cash-rich T20 is reportedly going to be without a major sponsor as Chinese mobile-maker VIVO pulled out of title sponsorship
Following the negative publicity it has gained over the last few weeks amid the Indo-China tension on the border, Vivo Communication Technology Co’s is set to withdraw as title sponsors, according to reports. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now forced to look for a new major sponsor, a couple of months before the league commences.
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“They had reached out to the president and the secretary a while ago and sought revision of the deal citing prevailing market condition and public sentiment. Since they were demanding a substantial reduction in sponsorship amount for the 2020 edition, it was mutually decided to look at options,” a BCCI insider told a news portal.
Vivo had signed a five-year deal with the BCCI as the major sponsor of the league worth Rs 2,199 crores in 2017. As IPL title sponsor, VIVO pays around Rs 440 crore per year, a five-year deal that ends in 2022. Vivo’s contract, coupled with Star India’s five-year media rights deal worth Rs 16,347 crore, make IPL the most rewarding T20 competition in the world.
This major setback raises concerns among the franchise owners as they fear that other Chinese sponsors will withdraw from sponsoring the team following the backlash from public. Earlier, the BCCI confirmed that the Chinese company will retain its position as the major sponsor of the tournament, despite the call to boycott Chinese products in the wake of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in June
“VIVO pullout is a big-big setback. This may lead to the Chinese brands staying away from the franchise sponsorships and as well as on-air advertising. We have not been communicated about anything from the BCCI. We are putting our bookings on hold for now. There are too many problems with IPL now”, a franchise official told a news portal.
At least four of BCCI’s major sponsors are related to China. Aside from IPL title sponsor VIVO, the mobile phone manufacturer, online fantasy game entity Dream11 — an associate sponsor of BCCI and IPL — has Chinese investment. Meawhile, e-learning platform Byju’s and Paytm — India’s team sponsor and the BCCI’s title sponsor for cricket in India respectively — are also funded by Chinese entities.
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