Dream11 acquires IPL 2020 title sponsorship after Vivo suspends contract
Fantasy gaming platform Dream11 on Tuesday acquired the title sponsorship rights for the 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, days after Chinese smartphone company Vivo suspended its contract for this year in the wake of the ongoing India-China conflicts.
Speaking to media, IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel stated that Dream11 won the IPL sponsorship rights with a bid of Rs 222 crore for four and a half months until December 31.
Dream 11 won the feat by outbidding two digital education companies BYJUs and Unacademy along with Tata group in the race. Interestingly, Dream11, Byjus, and Unacademy, all are partners of the BCCI for the Indian Cricket team. In 2019, Dream11 became India’s first gaming startup to be valued more than $1 billion.
Vivo acquired the title sponsorship for IPL in 2018 for Rs 2,199 crore in a five-year deal (2018-2022). This means that the Chinese mobile phone company was paying close to 440 crores to BCCI annually for the IPL’s title sponsorship. With Dream11 winning the bid for Rs 222 crore, BCCI is facing a loss of approximately Rs 217.80 crore this year.
In the aftermath of public backlash against Chinese products due to the India-China border conflict in Ladakh, BCCI and Vivo suspended their partnership for IPL’s title sponsorship for this year’s edition.
Initially, the celebrated tournament was scheduled to start on March 29. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, BCCI decided to postpone the event. Now, it will be taking place from September 19 to November 10. Furthermore, amid rising cases in the country, BCCI has also moved the venue for this year’s edition from India to the UAE.
While Dream11 is an Indian company founded by Bhavit Seth and Harish Jain, it has a Chinese connection that has raised compelling questions over the development. Significantly, the fantasy gaming platform is a major investor in cricket being associated with at least six IPL teams along with the International Cricket Council. It has former Indian Cricket team captain, MS Dhoni, as its brand ambassador.
It is also being reported that BCCI and Dream11 are negotiating their terms for a conditional three-year bid under which the gaming company will be paying BCCI Rs 240 crore each for the IPL edition of 2021 and 2022. However, the cricket governing body is in talks with the gaming company to revisit their bids for the second and third year of partnership as they demand them to increase their bidding amount if they aim to replace Vivo in the next editions as well.