Vivo may transfer IPL title rights; Dream 11, Unacademy in contention

Chinese company Vivo, which had suspended its IPL title sponsorship for 2020 edition, is eyeing an exit from the Indian Premier League by transferring its rights. The top likely bidders may include fantasy gaming platform Dream 11 and Edu-tech start-up Unacademy.

Dream11 had been the title sponsor for IPL 13 by winning the rights for Rs 222 crores, which was half (Rs 440 crore) of what Vivo was paying annually for a five-year deal.

Considering the Sino- India geopolitical relations Vivo understands that it’s not advisable to continue the association with two years still left.

“It’s almost final that Vivo will exit the IPL title sponsorship deal by mutual consent with the board. It was suspended for the 2020 edition. However, there is a clause which allows them to transfer their pending liabilities as one-time title sponsors on the new winner. If the board agrees on principle, it can happen,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

With 9 or 10 team expansion being a possibility for IPL in 2022, it is expected that a new bidder will get at least a three-year sponsorship rights.

“Dream11 and Unacademy will place their offers to Vivo. Unacademy in any case is an associate sponsor and they are ready to offer a higher amount in order to acquire the rights from Vivo,” an industry insider tracking developments said to PTI.

MPL, which sponsors Indian team’s kit may not be allowed to bid for the title sponsorship as Dream11 has been a title partner.

Authorities in the BCCI are expecting a clearer image might emerge by weekend once Vivo gets a concrete final offer.

“Look, Vivo paid approximately ₹440 crores ( ₹2190 crore for 5 years). Now if BCCI invites bids, just like last year when Dream11 paid ₹222 crores, it might increase but can’t be doubled. But if there is a transfer of rights, the old amount could be matched or even bettered,” the source said to PTI.

Mini-auction for IPL 2021 will be held on February 18 in Chennai with a maximum of 61 slots up for grabs.

“Since the title rights transfer will take some time, the Vivo logo is expected to be used during the February 18 auction,” added the source.

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