BCCI Gets Snubbed As Main Chinese IPL Sponsor Vivo Dumps Them Over Cross-border Tensions

By Dhanu Delphi on August 5, 2020

The BCCI has had to eat humble pie this week as it makes preparations for the 2020 IPL in the UAE which is set to run from Sep 19 to August 10. The BCCI has been under pressure for months to severe ties with their Chinese sponsors due to the cross-border tensions between India and China.

The BCCI had held extended meetings a few months ago as the board felt the pressure exerted by millions of Indians who had abandoned all Chinese products and urged Indian companies to cut ties to Chinese companies.

The main sponsor for the IPL is Chinese company Vivo and the BCCI held a meeting to review its sponsorship deal with Vivo and concluded that it was in the best interests of Indian cricket to continue with the Vivo sponsorship.

BCCI Gets Snubbed By Vivo

Vivo signed a 5 year contract with the BCCI in 2018 which was valued at 2,199 crore rupees. The BCCI did not want to take the risk of severing the contract and facing a lawsuit plus undertaking the process of finding another sponsor. BCCI brass met on 02 August to discuss their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the 2020 IPL and released a statement to reconfirm that all of their sponsors were on board.

However, they got a rude shock when Vivo decided to pull out of their sponsorship deal citing cross-border tensions and criticism that the company was receiving on Chinese social media sites. The BCCI is the richest cricketing board in the world and the emphasis has always been on who the BCCI selects and leaves out.

Vivo taking the decision to drop out is a slap in the face for the BCCI as it sends a clear message to the public that the Chinese company was willing to put its national interests first ahead of revenue while the BCCI was willing to put revenue ahead of national interests.

BCCI Might Get Vivo Back In 2021

The BCCI and Vivo’s legal teams have worked out a tight contract that will allow both parties to exit and leave the door open for them to rejoin in 2021, provided the tensions between India and China subside.

The departure of Vivo as the main sponsor of the 2020 IPL has put the BCCI in a tough position as it now needs to shortlist another sponsor before the 2020 IPL starts. This shouldn’t be that big of a challenge to the BCCI in normal times but these are not normal times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market conditions are not the best in the world.

The BCCI will have to work out a deal with the new sponsor and do its best to see if it can either match or exceed Vivo’s revenue for 2020 which will be a tall order.

Vivo’s Sponsorship Numbers

To put things in perspective, Vivo was paying the BCCI a total of 440 crore rupees for each IPL edition. The BCCI was pocketing 220 crore rupees while the remaining 220 crore rupees were split between the 8 IPL franchises with each of them taking home around 28 crore rupees.

The IPL franchises are not happy with losing out on so much of revenue as they are also set to lose gate revenue as the IPL is going to be played in empty stadiums. The franchises plan to appeal and get the BCCI to compensate them for the loss in revenue. Whether the BCCI will be able to search and find a replacement sponsor that can cover these revenues remains to be seen.

Internal sources suggest that the BCCI might be without a title sponsor for this edition and go back to Vivo in 2021.