IPL 2020 to go ahead minus Vivo as title sponsor
As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t challenging enough, the 2020 edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held without the participation of title sponsor Vivo. The move is as influenced by finances as by the current China’s transgressions in the LAC into Indian territory.
China’s transgressions have led to strong reactions not just nationally, but from global leaders as well. Following this, over 100 Chinese apps have been banned by India, along with strict restrictions on Chinese businesses in India.
However, the IPL governing body had announced a few days back that IPL 2020, which is being held in the UAE amid the pandemic this year from September 19 through November 10, Chinese advertisers, including Vivo, will be part of the tournament.
This decision has been met by a lot of flak from Indian cricket fans, who had called for a boycott of the tournament if Chinese sponsors were not removed. Vivo’s decision is partly due to this strong reaction, which it felt will adversely impact the brand.
However, there are other aspects impacting Vivo’s decision not to take part in IPL 2020, and they are all financial. As per media reports, Vivo brought to BCCI’s attention clauses in its title sponsorship contract, wherein it can renegotiate the deal if IPL is held outside India. Moreover, media reports also said that the mobile phone brand further stressed that the deal was for a “summer IPL” and not a “winter IPL”, as in this year’s case, wherein the schedule was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Media reports also stated that Vivo, which contributes Rs 440 crore annually to IPL as part of the sponsorship deal, felt that it won’t be in a position to pay Rs 880 crore for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the tournament in a span of just 6, given that IPL 2021 is slated to be held in its original schedule of April-May. Vivo cited the impact of the pandemic and the anti-China sentiments on its revenues.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Vivo will return as the title sponsor for the remaining years of its contract with IPL – 2021, 2020 and 2023. As is known, Vivo won the IPL title sponsorship rights in 2018 with a bid of Rs 2,199 crore. Prior to that, it was the title sponsor for two years – 2016 and 2017 – after PepsiCo abruptly terminated its title sponsorship contract before the expiry of its deal period due to negative publicity received following a corruption scandal.
Vivo’s move has put the IPL governing body in a fix as it will have to find a replacement for Vivo at a short notice of just 5 weeks before the commencement of the tournament.