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Vivo to exit as IPL sponsor? BCCI to take a call as anti-China sentiment grows

BusinessToday.In     June 22, 2020

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo, which is also the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL), may go for a negotiated exit from the league amid mounting calls in India to boycott Chinese products and sever ties with Chinese companies.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns and runs the league, is under pressure to review its sponsorship policy for the T20 tournament, including deals with Chinese companies.

IPL's high-powered governing council, which is slated to meet this week, will review all sponsorships of the T20 tournament.

Also Read: India-China face-off: Stop using Chinese equipment, Govt tells telcos

Vivo, which replaced PepsiCo in October 2015 to become IPL's title sponsor will have to find an Indian partner who would be ready to bear the financial burden for the remaining duration of the deal, if the company chooses to end the agreement on its own. This would give Vivo an exit out of a tricky situation and BCCI may also not lose face with sponsors, a legal expert who was privy to discussions then (2015), told the Business Standard.

However, in the current situation, if the BCCI decides to call off the deal with Vivo, the other option available with the company is to press for damages in court, experts told the news daily, adding that Vivo would exercise this choice carefully in the wake of anti-China sentiments across India.

Vivo had bagged the title sponsor rights for IPL for around Rs 2,200 crore (in 2015). The Chinese handset manufacturer shells out Rs 440 crore annually towards its title sponsorship.

Also Read: IPL governing body to rethink sponsorship deals amid India-China stand-off

Other popular Chinese brands associated with IPL, that will also be reviewed during the meeting this week, are Paytm and Dream11, and Swiggy.

Food delivery aggregator Swiggy, which also has investments from Chinese investors, is an associate sponsor of the league.

BCCI is looking to host the tournament between September-October this year after it was compelled to cancel its springtime schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is also looking to cancel the sponsorships of Chinese companies. Treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey has convened a meeting of IOA's executives this week to take a call on suspending an agreement with Li-Ning, a Chinese company that is the sponsor of player kits, according to the news daily.

Also Read: Vivo India to stop exclusive online launches for consistent prices across platforms

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