On 27 June 2017, in an email statement titled ‘Vivo retains IPL sponsorship for the next five years’, the BCCI announced that the Chinese phone company had come on board as the title sponsor of the IPL for another five years.
On 6 August, 2020, in yet another email statement the BCCI has announced, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and vivo Mobile India Pvt Ltd have decided to suspend their partnership for Indian Premier League in 2020.”
With just over 40 days to go for the Season 13, the BCCI is one title sponsor short with their partnership with Vivo being put on hold for ‘IPL in 2020’.
Why’s this important?: The IPL was set to mark the restart of Indian cricket (though not really cricket in India) after the government announced the nation-wide lockdown due to COVID-19 in March this year. A lot has had to happen for the IPL to find a new spot in the calendar - the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup have been rescheduled (for other reasons) and the league has been moved to the UAE this year.
But what is India’s biggest cricket league, if it doesn't translate into a profit for the stakeholders - the eight franchise owners, and also the BCCI.
And that’s where Vivo is important: Rs 3,869.5 crore was the number floated around in March when the IPL got postponed due to the lockdown. Rs 3,869.5 crore was what it would cost the BCCI if the IPL was cancelled this year. Of this, Rs 3,269.5 crore would come from broadcast and streaming revenue and then, the second-highest income source is the title sponsor of the league, Vivo, who were paying Rs 439.8 crore per season.
But now, with less than 2 months for the start of the already-delayed tournament, Vivo pulling out would mean the BCCI have to focus on yet another facet of an already complicated IPL. Finding a new title sponsor. More importantly, finding a title sponsor who can match the large sum Vivo was shelling out, when most economies and companies are struggling due to the impact of COVID-19.
So, how much is Vivo’s deal worth? In that email in 2017, the then BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had announced that “the premium global smartphone manufacturer bid Rs 2,199 crores, which is a 554% increase over the previous contract,” thus making it one of Indian sports’ biggest sponsorship deals.
The five-season contract ran from 2018 to 2022 with Vivo shelling out the earlier mentioned Rs 439.8 per season.
But, this isn’t Vivo’s first dance with the IPL: Even as talk now surrounds the phone company and it’s imminent withdrawal as the title sponsor of the IPL, Vivo’s relationship with the league started in similar manner.
In 2015, Pepsi pulled out of its five-year deal with the IPL, reportedly due to the spot-fixing scandal, and it was Vivo who had stepped in to complete the five-year cycle.
For the two seasons in 2016 and 2017, Vivo paid an estimated Rs 100 crore per year till the end of the five-year cycle.
And in 2017, when fresh bids were invited, Vivo bagged the rights for the next five years, reportedly bidding Rs 769 crore more than Oppo, who was the only other bidder.
TL;DR?: IPL’s title sponsorship deals have clearly managed to hit roadblocks before the completion of the five-year cycle.
However, that hasn’t stopped the amount the brands shell out from growing astronomically.
- From 2008 to 2012, DLF paid Rs 200 crore for five year, that is Rs 40 crore per year.
- From 2013 to 2017, Pepsi bid to pay Rs 396 crore for five years. That’s 79 crore a year
- From 2016 to 2017, Vivo paid Rs 100 crore per year
- From 2018 to 2022, Vivo bid Rs 2,199 crore for 5 years. Or, Rs 439.8 crore a season.
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