Vivo pulls the plug on IPL sponsorship for this year

Just days after announcing this year’s revised schedule of the IPL in Dubai from September BCCI has had to reckon with a setback. Chinese handset maker VIVO, the main sponsor of IPL has pulled out of sponsoring the cricketing event for this year.

Vivo had signed a five-year deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India BCCI in 2017 as the major sponsor of the league worth Rs 2,199 crores. After a meeting of the governing council on Sunday the BCCI had decided to continue with having VIVO as the IPL sponsor. This decision brought in a round of criticism from all corners including politicians, influencers, fans and traders. Calls over boycott of Chinese goods after the Galwan Valley clash where 20 Indian soldiers were martyred have grown louder and louder. The Indian government has already banned 59 Chinese mobile applications.

Given the sentiment against Chinese companies, VIVO has walked away from IPL title sponsorship for this year. Other sponsors of IPL that have large investments from Chinese firms include PayTM, Byjus, Dream 11 and Swiggy.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a legal suit filed against VIVO by BCCI as the two had entered an “Iron-Clad” contract in 2017. It also will be interesting to see if any other sponsor will be willing to take up the IPL title sponsorship for only a year. BCCI will be keen to fill the Rs 440 sponsorship hole created by VIVO’s departure.

The BCCI has invited bids for the Team Kit Sponsor and Official Merchandising Partner Rights through a tender process. The tendering process is likely to finish by August 26, 2020. Given the furore already created by VIVO’s title sponsorship, it looks unlikely that Chinese brands will be welcome to sponsor team kits.

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