IPL 2020 suffered a blow after traders’ body CAIT on Wednesday wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) raising objections about the Indian Premier League’s title sponsor — Dream11 reportedly having stakeholders from China. Fantasy gaming platform Dream11 on Tuesday won the IPL 2020 title sponsorship rights with a bid of Rs 222 crore, replacing Chinese mobile phone company — Vivo for a four-and-a-half-month deal.
Dream11 has been one of the IPL sponsors for a couple of years now. Vivo and the BCCI suspended a staggering Rs 440 crore-per-year deal for this season owing to the border stand-off between India and China.
The fantasy-based sports platform from India allows to play fantasy cricket, hockey, football, basketball and became the first gaming company to enter ‘Unicorn Club’.
Dream 11 Has Chinese Company Tencent Global As Stakeholder
Dream11 is an Indian company founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2012 when they introduced freemium fantasy cricket only and in 2014 1 million registered users, in 2016 2 million users and 2018 4 million users were reported to play the game by installing the application in smartphone.
The IPL was moved out of India due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year and will start on September 19 in the UAE. IPL was shifted from India after restrictions and lock-downs due to Covid-19 which also resulted in the postponement of IPL which was scheduled originally to start from 29th of March.
In a letter to BCCI President Saurav Ganguly, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said:
“We are deeply pained to note that now Dream 11 has been chosen as sponsor of IPL 2020 which has Chinese company Tencent Global as one of the major stakeholders”.
“We are of the considered opinion that awarding sponsorship to Dream 11 is nothing but a bye pass route to neglect the sentiments and feelings prevailing among the people of India against China for its regular attempts to invade the interests of India,” said CAIT, which is spearheading the campaign to boycott Chinese goods.
There are certain questions about Chinese company Tencent’s investment in Dream11, but one of the BCCI insiders privy to the development said that it is less than 10 per cent.
In April 2019 Steadview Capital completed a secondary investment in 2019 and apart from them investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent. China being the origin of coronavirus and recent tensions at border led to the banning of Chinese mobile applications and call for boycotting Chinese products.
Dream11 Was Appointed Official Partner For IPL For 4 Years In 2018
On 2020 Dream11 won the rights for sponsorship for 222 crore rupees after BCCI announced in March 2019 Dream11 as official partner for IPL for four years. In 2018, Dream11 announced a partnership with ICC. Mahendra Singh Dhoni who retired from international cricket on Independence Day is the brand ambassador.
Dream 11 is an online game where users create a virtual team of 11 real-life players from both teams participating and earn points based on their performances.
The user who gets maximum points is the winner and Dream 11 offers both free and paid contests where a user has to pay a certain fee to win real cash. To participate in a Dream11 game, a user must be at least 18 years old and needs to get their profile verified using their PAN.
Vivo which was founded in China in 2009 entered the Indian market in around 2014, following which they became the title sponsor for two years starting 2016, which was extended to 2022 in 2017.
However the Chinese brand of smartphone who had acquired IPL rights for 5 years until 2022 mutually agreed to suspend deal for 2020 with a clause to resume it next season.