Title sponsorship bids for IPL 2020 due this week
Global brands have been given until just the end of this week to submit a bid to become the title sponsor of this year's Indian Premier League, the high-profile Twenty20 cricket competition.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has had to move quickly to find a new title sponsor for the competition, with Vivo, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, having withdrawn from the role last week amid political tensions between the two countries.
Only companies with an annual turnover of over $40 million will be eligible and permitted to bid by the 14 August deadline, according to a report by ESPNCricinfo.
The winning bid will be announced on 18 August.
The 2020 IPL, scheduled originally to start in late March, has been postponed indefinitely ever since because of the coronavirus pandemic, but has now been given approved new dates of 19 September to 10 November.
It will also be held in the United Arab Emirates instead of India, and permission from the Indian government to stage the event overseas has been received.
The switch was expected, with India currently one of the hotspots for the virus, and India’s government has now approved the tournament taking place across 53 days in biosecure venues in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
The BCCI said in a statement yesterday that the title partner rights would not by default be awarded to the highest bidder, and that several other factors would be considered: “BCCI shall not be obliged to award the rights to the third party which indicates willingness to pay the highest fees.”
The board said that other factors would include “the manner in which the third party intends to exploit the rights (and), the viewer experience, which will be examined and evaluated by BCCI in the course of discussions.”
It emerged last week that online retail giant Amazon and soft drinks brand Coca-Cola were keen on acquiring title sponsorship rights, alongside fantasy sports platforms Dream11 and My11Circle, and online education platforms Byju’s and Unacademy.
Vivo took the decision to withdraw from its IPL sponsorship - officially for one year only - after the BCCI faced a political and social media backlash when it originally said that the manufacturer would in fact continue in its role.
In the wake of clashes in June between Indian and Chinese troops at the border between the two countries, there were growing calls for Indian consumers to boycott Chinese products, and for Indian companies to adopt the same approach to Chinese investment and sponsorship.
Vivo had a five-year deal with the BCCI in place, running up until 2022, worth Rs4.4 billion per year ($58.6 million), a fourfold increase on what Vivo paid annually in its initial two-year deal from 2016 to 2018.
Vivo is still expected to retain IPL title sponsorship rights for the 2021 season, potentially after a resolution of the India-China political dispute.
Each of the IPL’s eight teams was believed to receive around Rs200 million per year from the Vivo contract.
The postponement of the tournament left the BCCI facing a potential $534 million loss in revenue, but the cancellation of this year’s Men's T20 World Cup in Australia, which was scheduled for 18 October to 15 November, has opened up a new window for the competition
Meanwhile, sportswear giants Adidas and Puma have both expressed interest in becoming the Indian national team’s new kit supplier, according to local media reports.
The BCCI launched a kit supply tender on 3 August, as its contract with incumbent supplier Nike is set to expire in September and there have been no signs that the US heavyweight plans on renewing.
Now, the Indian news site IANS has reported a BCCI official as saying: “Adidas and Puma have shown interest in becoming Team India’s kit sponsors. The entire process will be transparent and any deal that will be done will be in the interest of Indian cricket.”
Under the tender process, the winning bidder will be granted the right to be the kit supplier and/or the official merchandising partner of India’s cricket teams and receive other associated rights.
Nike has been the country’s kit supplier since 2006, with its present four-year deal worth a total of around Rs3.7 billion.
The ITT period runs until 26 August and interested parties are requested to email email@example.com in order to get further details for acquiring the necessary documents.
India has the largest following in world cricket, but there will be doubts over the size of contract the BCCI can command given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The BCCI has reportedly lowered its base asking price for the rights by close to 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, the inaugural edition of the men's T20 Lanka Premier League, which was originally scheduled to be played by five teams in Sri Lanka from 28 August to 20 September, has been postponed.
The tournament will instead take place in November, with a statement from Sri Lanka Cricket today only giving that month as the new date.
SLC said that the decision was taken because of the coronavirus, “in consideration of the health guidelines stipulated by the Ministry of Health.”
Last week, Innovative Production Group, the Dubai-based sports broadcasting company, secured a five-year deal with SLC to organise and manage the new tournament’s commercial rights.
Under the deal, IPG will hold the rights to franchises, broadcasting, ground sponsorship and AV production. The SLC will only handle venues and umpires.
Citing sources at the SLC, local media put the value of the deal at $1.9 million. IPG will also pay SLC $2 million annually for the rights. More than 25 companies submitted expressions of interest, after SLC launched a request for proposal in July.
The LPL is being launched as an attempt to bring the country's domestic cricket structure further into line with the various T20 leagues which have sprung up worldwide in the laat decade.