Reports: Vivo all set to end association with IPL as title sponsors; Unacademy, Dream11 in contention for 2021 season

BCCI ended ties with Vivo due to disturbed political scenarios between India and China.

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IPL trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Contrary to the popular speculation, Vivo are unlikely to resume their association with the Indian Premier League (IPL). The mobile manufacturing giants are reportedly looking for an exit from the IPL by transferring its title sponsorship rights to interested bidders, which may include fantasy gaming platform Dream11 and edu-tech start-up Unacademy.

In 2017, Vivo had signed a five-year deal worth Rs 2,199 crore to become the title sponsor of IPL. They were paying Rs 440 crore to the BCCI every year. It had replaced PepsiCo, which had walked out of a Rs 396 crore deal in 2016. But last year, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Chinese smartphone giant had  decided to suspend ties for IPL 2020 which was held in the UAE.

The decision came in the wake of the deadly scuffle between the Indian and Chinese armed forces on the border. Several reports had also suggested that Vivo pulled out of the deal because of financial reasons. The mobile manufacturers were looking for a reduction in the sponsorship sum due to the Covid-19 disruption and eventually decided to suspend the ties for IPL 2020.

The reports suggested that Vivo wanted the deal deferred by a year on grounds that paying Rs 880 crore for two seasons in a span of six-seven months was not easy. Thus speculation were rife that the Chinese firm would return as the title sponsors for IPL 2021. However, Vivo have reportedly decided otherwise and are looking to end their ties with the T20 tournament.

Almost final that Vivo will exit the IPL title sponsorship deal: BCCI official

According to a report in NDTV, the prevailing tense situation between India and China is one of the reasons behind Vivo’s decision to end their ties with IPL despite two years left on their contract.  With the Sino-India geo-political relations in a sensitive state, Vivo understands that it’s not prudent to continue the association.

“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 which allows them to transfer their pending liabilities as one-time title sponsors on the new winner. If board agrees on principle, it can happen,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by the news outlet.

With IPL set for 9 or 10-team expansion in 2022, it is expected that the new bidder will get at least a three-year title sponsorship rights. Last year, the BCCI had roped in Dream11 as IPL’s title sponsors at the very last minute. Dream11 had won the bidding race for Rs 222 crore. BCCI is hopeful that Vivo would transfer its rights so that the old sponsorship amount could be matched or even bettered.

“Dream11 and Unacademy will place their offers to Vivo. Unacademy in any case is an associate sponsor and they are ready to offer a higher amount in order to acquire the rights from Vivo,” an industry insider tracking developments said.

“Look, Vivo paid approximately Rs 440 crore (Rs 2190 crore for 5 years). Now if BCCI invites bids, just like last year when Dream11 paid Rs 222 crore, it might increase but can’t be doubled. But if there is a transfer of rights, the old amount could be matched or even bettered,” the source said.