IPL 2020 is going to be a season full of excitement and breaking news, not only from the field, that’s why the internet is abuzz with one news or another from the 13th season of IPL. This IPL season is not going to be only about the players but the board, BCCI has also been in headlines since the day speculations about this season taking place, had started doing rounds amongst fans. BCCI had to make some really tough decisions this season and the most prominent of all was whether this season would even take place or not. And since the day IPL 2020 has been finalized to happen in UAE, all the other aspects related to game have come into forefront. And what could be more important than taking a call on sponsors for this season? IPL 2020 id going to see some major changes with respect to sponsors. Our eye is fixed upon the reasons for these changes. Whether the reasons are what the masses think or there is something more to the game of sponsors?
IPL AND VIVO CHANGE PATHS
IPL and Vivo had been that inseparable couple for years who seem to be incomplete without each other. If this couple is seen without one another, people can’t help but ask questions. And the same thing has happened this season. India and China have locked horns countless times this year but unlike every other year, India has taken some harsh steps. India has banned 59 Chinese apps from India in order to keep the data of its citizen safe and secure. Amidst the same ban, one more news started to flash. BCCI had excluded Vivo from the list of sponsors for IPL 2020. Country took it as BCCI’s stand for the nation but recently fans got to know that the decision had nothing to do with patriotic sentiments. BCCI had refused to abide by Vivo’s demand for 25% reduction in the fee for title sponsorship, which Vivo thought was right to ask for in the wake of pandemic. Thus, anti-China sentiments had nothing to do with Vivo not being a part of this much awaited IPL season.
DREAM 11 IN THE GAME
VIVO being out of the picture, there was a spot open for the title sponsorship in the 13th season of IPL. This spot soon got filled by an Indian start-up, Dream 11. Dream 11 bagged the title sponsorship rights for Rs. 220 crore, whereas Vivo had bought the rights for the title sponsorship for Rs. 440 crore per year. BCCI had an agreement of five years with Vivo. Fans are happy to see an Indian start-up getting a chance to be associated with BCCI on such a big scale venture but the things become questionable as soon as the break up of Dream 11 share holders is investigated by curious cricket fanatics. A Chinese company, Tencent, is one of the major stakeholders in Dream 11. Tencent owns around 10-13% of stake in Dream 11 which makes Dream 11 not purely an India start-up and hurts anti-Chinese sentiments of Indians. At the same time, BCCI’s step of not involving Vivo, which was taken as a patriotic move, stands nullified after its association with Dream 11.
Dream 11 was not the only Indian company competing for the title sponsorship of 2020 edition of IPL. Tata group, Ptanjali, Reliance Jio and Amazon are the giants of the many companies that were running in the race for the title sponsorship. Experts did not only hope for but had full conviction that this was the time for an Indian company to bag the sponsorship. The expectations came true but not fully. China will not be directly involved in the game this time but Chinese influence is not completely off the field.
REACTION TO SELECTION
Well established and reputed organizations have already started to comment on the BCCI’s decision to go with Dream 11 as the title sponsor for IPL 2020. No group is against the idea of an Indian start-up getting an opportunity but Tencent, which is a Chinese technology major, has vexed people, especially during such sensitive times.
"Considering that the BCCI had stated that the bid amount will not be the only consideration, I wish it had lived up to the expectation of avoiding China-backed companies and gone with one of the other companies such as the Tata Group," Former Chairman of Nimbus Sport, Harish Thawani said this while talking about the recent bid. Mr. Thawani did not only disclose his displeasure with the bid but also brought to the light the hypocrisy in the actions of the board.
Entire nation is ready to boycott China in one or another way but how would it be possible if the major sport of the country and the richest board of the world, BCCI, would not work towards the same goal. Former Vice President of Star Sports, Mr. Anirudh Kalia, seems to be sporting the same sentiments as Mr. Thawani. As per Mr. Kalia, China has got a back-door entry into the game and now it is back in the race. And we can not deny the fact that China, though not directly involved, is as much a part of IPL 2020 as Dream 11.
It is not difficult to understand how China has become a part of IPL’s new edition through Dream 11. On one hand, the country is talking about cutting China off of its source and on the other hand, IPL’s bid has started to generate money for the Chinese company Tencent. Tencent has invested $100 million in Dream 11, thus, is the biggest investor in the Indian start-up. The bigger the investment, the bigger the profits. Dream 11 has generated $120-160 million in the five rounds so far. We can only think of what Tencent is going to get out of this deal.
Dream 11 has come as saviour for BCCI which was struggling for sponsors but even after the involvement of Dream 11, franchises will have to bear the loss of 10-12 crore as Dream 11 is paying only half of what Vivo used to pay. TV advertising is in no good shape and advertisers have deserted the field of TV. Gate collections are totally a dead end as there is not going to be any live audience this season, matches will be played in empty stadiums. Thus, BCCI and franchises will have to work extra hard for local sponsors and on-ground advertising revenue. Fans wish BCCI to have a successful IPL season even though the sting of Tencent’s involvement is quite fresh.