The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has awarded the title sponsorship rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 to fantasy cricket league platform Dream11. Already a partner of the BCCI, Dream11 outbid education-technology platforms Byju's and Unacademy to win the race. (More Cricket News)
Interestingly, the Tata Group stayed away from the IPL 2020 title sponsorship race. A hot favourite given their legacy as an Indian company with diverse interests including the promotion of Olympic sports, the Tata Group pulled out at the last moment.
Sources said the Tatas apparently wanted some "barter deal" in return for the IPL 2020 rights fee and the BCCI did not agree. If the Tata Group had bagged the IPL title rights, it would have been a first for them in cricket.
Dream11's winning bid was Rs 222 crores for a year. Unconfirmed sources say Byju's and Unacademy bids were substantially lesser. Byju's and Unacademy are already associated with BCCI as Indian cricket team sponsors and official partners of IPL, respectively.
The IPL 2020 title sponsorship fell vacant after Vivo, which had signed a 2000-crore-plus five-year deal (2018-2022) with BCCI, withdrew after the Boycott China campaign gathered steam in the wake of the India-China standoff at Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June. Vivo is fully funded by a Chinese company.
Outlook had reported that the title rights will go for around INR 250 crores. The figures suggested were research data numbers calculated based on past buying behavior and on-air spends and cash balance of these brands.
Dream11 is already a big spender on cricket. They are associated with at least six IPL teams and also with the International Cricket Council. With IPL coming up, Dream11 aims to rake in the moolah due to the return of live cricket.
The fantasy cricket league platform, which has MS Dhoni as its brand ambassador, gets funding from Chinese company Tencent but insiders say their bid this time was fuelled by a major Indian telecom major wanting a stranglehold on the online gaming world.
When the BCCI asked for bids for the IPL 2020 title rights last week, it had clearly said: "For the avoidance of doubt, it is clarified that BCCI shall not be obliged to award the Rights to the third party which indicates willingness to pay the highest fees in the course of discussions/ negotiations with BCCI after submitting an EOI.
"BCCI’s decision in this regard will also depend on a number of other relevant factors, including but not limited to, the manner in which the third party intends to exploit the Rights and the potential impact of the same on brand IPL as also the fan/viewer experience, which will be examined/ evaluated by BCCI in the course of discussions/ negotiations with interested third parties who submit an EOI."
It is now clear that the BCCI went for money and not the desi (Indian) image of a brand like Unacademy.