The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Chinese smartphone giant Vivo Mobile have decided to suspend ties for the Indian Premier League 2020 this year. "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Vivo Mobile India Pvt Ltd have decided to suspend their partnership for Indian Premier League in 2020," a press statement from IPL said.
The IPL this year has been shifted to the UAE because of the pandemic and will be held in three venues -- Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah -- from September 19 to November 10.
Though there's no official confirmation as to why the Chinese company backed out at the last moment, multiple media reports suggest the decision came after social media backlash against the BCCI amid the rising anti-China sentiments and clashes between the Indian soldiers and the Chinese along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Notably, the BCCI had earlier announced that it will retain all its sponsors, including VIVO even as voices against Chinese brands continued to rise. This followed a huge backlash against the apex cricketing body, which could have forced it to end Vivo as title partner for the IPL 2020. This year, Vivo had reportedly asked for a Rs 130 crore cut in its payout to BCCI on account of poor sales and worsening sentiments against Chinese companies.
Notably, Vivo had signed a five-year deal worth Rs 2,199 crore to become the title sponsor of IPL in 2017, paying almost Rs 440 crore to the BCCI every year. It had replaced PepsiCo, which had walked out of a Rs 396 crore deal in 2016.
It is estimated that each IPL franchise is staring at revenue loss worth Rs 30 crore due to the Vivo-BCCI fallout. With its exit, the BCCI now has a tough task of finding a new title sponsor at a short notice in a market ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.