The IPL is the richest domestic T20 league in the world and watched by over a billion cricket fans predominantly in India but also around the world. There has always been a lot of competition to secure sponsorship rights of the IPL and the BCCI has made millions of dollars over the years via its IPL sponsorship contract.
VIVO Dumps BCCI
The Indian public called on the BCCI earlier this year to review its sponsorship ties with Chinese companies based on the fallout between India and China that resulted in the death of Indian soldiers. The BCCI yielded to that pressure because the main sponsor of the IPL was Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo.
Vivo had paid a whopping 240 crore rupees to the BCCI in 2018 to secure a 5-year deal from 2018 to 2022. The BCCI wasn’t very keen on dropping Vivo as its main title sponsor and pacified the Indian public by saying that it would review its entire list of Chinese sponsors once their contracts were over. The BCCI would later go on to confirm that Vivo would continue to be the main sponsor for the 2020 IPL which is scheduled to take place in the UAE from Sep 19 to Nov 10.
However, just a couple of days after the BCCI confirmed this news, Vivo made a surprising announcement and confirmed that it would no longer sponsor the IPL. The Chinese company was also facing social media pressure in China about sponsoring Indian sporting leagues. As a result, Vivo decided to opt-out of sponsoring the 2020 IPL. Vivo also terminated its sponsorship ties with the Pro Kabaddi League in India and popular reality TV show Bigg Boss.
BCCI Struggling To Find New Sponsor
Vivo’s sudden decision to not sponsor the 2020 IPL has been a slap in the face for the BCCI because it showed the Indian public that the BCCI put finances over the nation and backed its Chinese sponsor, but the Chinese sponsor put China over its finances and pulled out.
The BCCI is now desperately looking to find a main sponsor for 2020, and time to do so is limited. There will normally be no shortage of sponsors for the IPL, but market conditions are not great due to COVID-19, and hence it is not easy for the BCCI to find a sponsor who is willing to pay similar money to what Vivo was paying.
To put things in perspective, DLF sponsored the first 5 years of the IPL and paid 40 crore rupees per year. PepsiCo took up the sponsorship role for the next 5 years and ended up paying double the price at 80 crores per year. PepsiCO exited after 4 years and Vivo came on the scene paying the same price as PepsiCO.
The BCCI signed a massive 5 year deal with Vivo for the 2018 to 2022 contract by paying 440 crores per year which none of the other sponsors could match. Now that Vivo has backed out, the BCCI not only needs to find a sponsor who can pay the same amount but also find a company that is willing to pour in so much cash with a COVID-19 impacted market.
Jio Backs Out
Reports suggest that the BCCI has reached out to Mukesh Ambani’s Jio to see if they will step in and take Vivo’s place, but a representative of the Mumbai Indians (which is owned by Mukesh Ambani) claimed that Jio was not interested in being the main IPL sponsor at this point.
The BCCI has also put out feelers to a number of its other sponsors to see if any of them would be interested in being the IPL main sponsor. Companies like Tata Motors and Dream11 who are associated partners of the IPL were not interested nor was PayTM who sponsors all home series games.
Will Amazon Step Up?
With the 2020 IPL fast approaching, the pressure is on the BCCI to sign a sponsor quickly. Amazon might be the only company at this point who has the money to be able to step up and secure sponsorship rights. The question is, will Amazon step up and will they be willing to pay the same amount as Vivo? There are also rumours that the BCCI might not sign a main sponsor for the 2020 IPL and absorb the financial fallout and get Vivo back again in 2021. We will have to wait for another week or two to see how it all plays out.