Chinese handset maker Vivo, which had paused its title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2020, is back, IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel said on Thursday. He was making his opening address at the IPL 2021 auction in Chennai, when he disclosed the same.
The announcement signals an end to the search for Vivo's replacement, which had gathered pace last week, following speculation that the Chinese company had made up its mind to exit the marquee event. Edtech major Unacademy and IPL 2020 title sponsor Dream11 were in the fray for the 2021 sponsorship rights. The two will now be official partners of the IPL, it is reliably learnt.
The concern all along was whether Unacademy or Dream11 would take up the payout responsibilities of Vivo, which was a hefty Rs 440 crore a year. Vivo had paid Rs 880 crore for two years (2018 and 2019) before pausing its sponsorship deal in 2020. It was contracted for a five-year period stretching from 2018 to 2022. The partner replacing Vivo, said people in the know, would have to cough up Rs 1,320 crore for three years.
Dream11 had already indicated during the 2020 title sponsorship race that it would pay Rs 240 crore and Rs 260 crore each for the 2021 and 2022 editions. It had paid Rs 222 crore for the 2020 title sponsorship, which was nearly half of what Vivo had paid annually for two years.
To get out of the logjam, informed sources said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns and runs the IPL, continued its dialogue with Vivo, even as negotiations with Unacademy and Dream11 were on.
In the end, Vivo was convinced to stay back in time for the IPL 2021 auctions, triggered in part by the decision of the Indian and Chinese governments to pull back troops from Ladakh. Videos and pictures of the same were released by the Indian Army this week.
The IPL title sponsorship forms a key part of the BCCI's central revenue sharing agreement with the eight franchisee teams of the T20 tournament. 50 per cent of the title sponsorship money goes to these teams, implying that the more it is the better it is for all stakeholders concerned. The eight franchisee teams end up earning nearly Rs 28 crore per year from Vivo's annual payout.
Dream11, on the other hand, first came on board as an official partner of IPL in 2018, Unacademy was appointed an official partner last year by the BCCI. Official partners are basically central sponsors who are attached to key properties of the IPL such as umpire branding, strategic timeout etc. PayTM, Ceat and Tata Motors are some of the other official partners of the IPL.