The title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Vivo, is looking to transfer its remaining contract due to ongoing political turmoil, according to several reports. Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said that they are open to make a new deal for IPL 2021 with VIVO, who acquired the title sponsorship rights for the T20 league in 2018 for INR 440 crore per year for five seasons.
Last year, Vivo Communication Technology Co’s withdrew from sponsoring the IPL 13 due to the negative publicity it has gained amid the Indo-China tension on the border. Fantasy sports platform Dream11 became the title sponsor of the IPL 2020. Presently, neither the IPL’s official website nor any of the IPL’s press releases carries VIVO nor Dream11 name and logo as IPL 2021 sponsor.
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The Chinese smartphone manufacturer’s five-year agreement, took over the title sponsorship from Pepsi in 2015, is due to expire in 2022. However, an unnamed BCCI official revealed to a news outlet that the company is open to taking a hit and assigning the rights to any interested party after realizing that they are paying much than the actual value.
“After the price discovery in the last season, where Dream11 won the rights for Rs 222 crore, Vivo has realised that it has paid much above the right value. So it has asked its media agency GroupM to find a buyer,” said one of the sources. Vivo looks to “transfer” its rights to interested parties at the earliest so as to exit the contract it made with the Indian Board.
Another source claims that the transfer is almost final. It’s almost final that Vivo will exit the IPL title sponsorship deal by mutual consent with the board. It was suspended for the 2020 edition. However, there is a clause that allows them to transfer their pending liabilities as one-time title sponsors. If [the]board agrees on principle, it can happen,” the source said.
With the IPL 2021 preparations underway, the board is on the lookout for a new sponsor. According to reports, though the board is open to VIVO’s return as title sponsor, the current situation on the border seems not feasible for the Chinese mobile maker’s return. The board has decided to conducted IPL auctions on 18th February in Chennai which is less than 3 weeks from now.
According to reports, the 14th edition of the IPL is slated to be held in its original April-May window. The venue and dates for IPL 2021 are however yet to be announced by BCCI. Earlier, a total of 139 players were retained while 57 were released ahead of the auction. Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab have the biggest purse going into the IPL 2021 auction while Dehi Capitals have the lowest.
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