MUMBAI, August 4: A leading Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, already fighting tooth and nail to claim compensation from BCCI over having to lose out on gate money in UAE this season, called up the other seven franchises on Monday evening to inform them that the league’s title sponsors – Vivo India – are on the verge of exiting, at least for this year.
Less than 12 hours later, panic gripped the IPL fraternity as Vivo’s imminent exit as title sponsors became obvious. Vivo India, the local arm of the Chinese mobile manufacturing giant, has been in the middle of a socialmedia storm in the last 48 hours after the IPL Governing Council, on Sunday, said that it would be retaining all its sponsors for the 2020 edition of the tournament.
Well-placed sources confirmed the development on Tuesday saying,”Vivo is going to have to exit the league this year and that looks certain now. How that happens is going to depend on how BCCI and Vivo negotiate the matter.
The company (Vivo) has had its own share of issues and the BCCI has optics to deal with, given the political climate. They have to come to some understanding here because legal options can’t be considered in this case”.
The BCCI and the IPL Governing Council have faced criticism for deciding to not cut ties with the Chinese company and a fresh call is being taken.
On Monday, the said franchise had taken it upon itself to inform the others of Vivo’s impending exit given the hostility towards Chinese brands that has been around post the border skirmish between the two countries some time ago. The Indian government has banned a specific number of Chinese apps already and there has been a lot of talk recently on cutting all trade ties with the neighbour.
The BCCI says it takes the general sentiment of the Indian cricket fans in absolute seriousness and is therefore willing to do away with a sponsor that was bringing an approximate Rs 440 crore per year to the IPL table as part of the central revenue pool. Once the exit is official, which is a development that can be expected to take place over the next 24 hours, the onus will be on the IPL GC and the BCCI’s marketing team to start looking for replacements.
The Board, meanwhile, is “miffed” that one franchise took it upon itself to let the others know of the development without waiting to hear from the IPL governing council first.
“Was it not the franchise’s duty to consult with BCCI first?” ask those in the know.
While it’s a matter that BCCI is going to pay serious attention to in the coming days, the immediate focus of the cricket board is to find a suitable replacement for Vivo as franchises lose sleep over revenue loss and compensation. It is not confirmed yet if Vivo’s exit as title sponsor of the IPL is a permanent or temporary arrangement.
Vivo India had bagged the IPL title sponsorship rights in 2017 for Rs 2199 crore, committing to pay the league approximately Rs 440 crore every season, for a five-year deal. The mobile-manufacturer had earlier replaced soft-drink giants PepsiCo to enter the title sponsorship space after the latter walked out of a Rs 396-crore deal in 2015, allowing the IPL to earn an approximate 450% premium.
The contractual obligation between Vivo India and the IPL is an ‘iron-clad’ one and therefore, the only way possible to resolve this issue is through a conversation across the table. TOI also understands that, at this moment, Vivo India too would like to walk away from the contract, by way of negotiations, given the negativity towards the brand that has enveloped the Indian market.
BCCI’s bigger headache will be to find a suitable replacement, especially in this market ruined by Covid and at such short notice.
“Even if the Board can get a replacement at 50% of the value, it’ll be an achievement. Anything more than that will actually be a shot in the arm.
Let’s hope things settle amicably. The IPL has been planned and everything’s set,” industry stakeholders opined. (TNN)