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IPL 2020: Vivo will opt out as the title sponsor

IPL 2020: Vivo will opt out as the title sponsor

In addition to finalizing the operational issues related to moving the entourage of the Indian Premier League ( IPL) to the United Arab Emirates following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was forced in another corner with the IPL title sponsor set to terminate its association with the T20 League.

In the midst of border conflict with China, Vivo – a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer and the BCCI have been on the verge of triggering force majeure and deciding to end their five-season contract with 3 editions remaining.

It is understood that key office-bearers of the BCCI – President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah attended a conference call on Tuesday with representatives of Vivo along with IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel. It is acknowledged that both parties agreed to end the agreement in an amicable manner.

Interestingly, during the Governing Council on Sunday, the BCCI had refrained from revisiting the IPL sponsorship contract. This was followed by an uproar with the lashing out at the BCCI by a few nationalistic organisations. However, A BCCI source disclosed that Monday’s meeting was a fallout from Vivo’s demand to renegotiate the agreement.

The BCCI source revealed to the media, “They had reached out to the president and the secretary a while ago and sought revision of the deal citing prevailing market condition and public sentiment.  Since they demanded a significant reduction in sponsorship amount for the 2020 edition, it was mutually decided to look at options.”

If force majeure is invoked, both parties will be absolved of compensating the other for the premature termination of the contract. 

It is learned that Vivo requested “at least 30% reduction” in the amount for the upcoming editions, which will be played in the UAE from 19th September to 10th November. In 2018 Vivo signed a five-edition contract  worth Rs. 2,199 crore (approx. Rs.440 crore per annum) as the title sponsor of the T20 League.

Although there was no official response from the BCCI, a Vivo India spokesman said the company is “not commenting on the matter yet.” 

With time running out, a formal separation announcement is expected to be made “very soon”, so that the BCCI can invite fresh bids “just for the 2020 edition” . If the market conditions and the relationships with Indo-Sino continue, actually Vivo can explore bidding for the next rights cycle ahead of the edition of 2021. 

Nevertheless, the BCCI acknowledges that with the pandemic having dented the global economy, market interest for funding the upcoming edition would be much smaller. It is understood that a business conglomerate with close relations to an IPL franchise may extend its association and cooperation with IPL.