Cricket

Vivo likely to quit as 2020 IPL title sponsors amid Indo-China diplomatic tensions

A view of the Vivo IPL trophy. File

A view of the Vivo IPL trophy. File   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been forced into a corner with IPL title sponsor Vivo set to end its association with the T20 league.

Following the border tension with China, Vivo — a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer — and the BCCI have been on the verge of invoking force majeure and mutually agreeing to end the five-season contract after just two editions.

Conference call

The Hindu understands that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had a conference call with Vivo representatives, with IPL chairman Brijesh Patel in attendance, on Tuesday.

Both parties are understood to have agreed to amicably terminate the agreement.

The BCCI had refrained from revisiting the IPL sponsorship deal during Sunday’s governing council meeting.

This was followed by a public outcry over the league’s association with a Chinese company. However, a BCCI insider claimed that Tuesday’s meeting was a fallout of Vivo’s demand to renegotiate the deal.

“They had reached out to the president and the secretary a while ago and sought a revision of the deal, citing prevailing market conditions and public sentiment.

“Since they were demanding a substantial reduction in sponsorship for the 2020 edition, it was mutually decided to look at options,” said the BCCI insider.

It is learnt that Vivo wanted “at least 30% reduction” in the amount for the forthcoming edition, to be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

In 2018, Vivo signed a five-edition deal worth ₹2,199 crore (approximately ₹440 crore per year) as title sponsor.

If force majeure is invoked, it could absolve both parties from compensating the other for the premature termination of the deal.

While no one from the BCCI was available for an official comment, a Vivo India spokesperson said the company is “not commenting on the matter yet”.

Fresh tender for 2020?

A formal announcement on the separation is expected “very soon” so that the BCCI can invite fresh bids “only for the 2020 edition”. Should the market conditions and border situation improve, Vivo can explore bidding for the next rights cycle ahead of the 2021 edition.

However, the BCCI realises that with the pandemic having dented the global economy, the chances of completing a big-money sponsorship deal for 2020 are slim. It is understood that a business conglomerate with close ties to an IPL franchise may explore extending its association with the IPL.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 9:49:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/vivo-likely-to-quit-as-2020-ipl-title-sponsors-amid-indo-china-diplomatic-tensions/article32268977.ece

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