IPL 2020’s title sponsorship bidding war saw Tata Sons which owns the company of the Tata group once again reminding corporate India of their interest in cricket from which they have consciously stayed away in the past as was indicated when they came up with an “Expression of Interest (EOI)” for the Indian Premier League (IPL) title rights last week.
Tata Sons were the front-runners to bag title sponsorship ahead of ByJu’s, Unacademy and Reliance Jio after VIVO left as BCCI’s title sponsors for IPL 2020 season 45 days before the start of the new season.
There were speculations that the highest bidder may not get the sponsorship rights from the BCCI as the board was set to look at various other aspects keeping in mind the backlash over smartphone brand — Vivo.
The mega smartphone brand left because of its Chinese ownership and BCCI was desperate to find a replacement around the same deal as it had with VIVO (INR 440 crore per year), but industry experts had ruled it out keeping the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.
But finally, fantasy sports Dream11 bagged the title sponsorship rights for staggering INR 222 crores per year almost half of last year’s Vivo’s sponsorship.
IPL 2020: Dream11 Bags IPL Title Sponsorship As Tata, ByJu’s And Unacademy Loses
Vivo, the Chinese smartphone brand, has left the sponsorship for at least this year and since Dream11 has acquired rights, IPL will be known as Dream11 IPL 2020 in the 13th edition. Dream11 were partner before but on 18th August they were named title sponsors after successful bidding of Rs. 222 crore as announced by BCCI on 18th August.
The BCCI had earlier asked only those companies to bid who had a turnover of more than 300 crores. While educational platforms Byju’s and Unacademy seemed to be willing to pay more money, Tata Sons were also in the race as the favourites to bag the sponsorship considering it to be an Indian brand.
“Whenever the IPL comes out with a tender for new franchises, expect the Tatas to be in the race. Their perceptions have evolved over time and they see cricket differently now from how they used to,” say those who track the company closely.
It was in 2018 when Tata Motors first came on board with the IPL as official partners which came as the company’s first major association with the T20 league since the later’s inception in 2008, signalling a massive change of mindset of the Tata group.
IPL 2020: BCCI Refused To Allow Tata More Than One Brand
Tatas wanted to block three categories as title sponsor – meaning, three different brands under their flagship – whereas BCCI maintained that Tatas could block only one single category.
For instance, Tatas may have looked to block three brands for title sponsorship and the deal would have ensured the company enough profit through perimeter boards inside the stadium during matches and other branding opportunities. BCCI put its foot down and insisted that Tatas could block only one category and not three.
“That’s BCCI’s policy decision and any potential bidder has to live with it. Suppose BCCI would’ve allowed Tatas to block three categories – Tata Motors, Tata Tea & TCS – they would not have had the option of inviting any of the rival brands in the market – Mahindra or Tetley or Infosys, for instance – on board,” says an industry executive.
IPL trophy (Image Credit: Twitter)
It is for the first time since the inception of IPL that a company with more than a dozen categories showed interest in bidding for the title rights. Until now, only single-brand companies such as DLF (real estate), Pepsi (beverages and snacks) and Vivo (mobile manufacturers) were contesting to acquire title sponsorship rights.
“What this episode has done is given BCCI an opportunity to look at this proposed Tata deal from a different viewpoint and look at the possibilities it can explore in the future where bringing multi-brand companies on board is concerned,” industry executives say.
Tata Group has not been associated with cricket very much but their reversal in decision allowed BCCI to mention that their participation in cricket will be observed keenly and they will be expected to participate more in future tournaments.
“Expect them to participate more in the game as and when opportunities arrive,” they add.
IPL 2020 was originally scheduled to commence on March 29 but was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic but BCCI finally announced in 2nd August that the tournament will be played between 19 September and 10th November in the Emirates.
On 10th the Indian government gave permission, but on 4th Vivo pulled out and on 18th of August, Dream11 was named as title sponsors.
The likes of Amazon, Coca-Cola, Unacademy and Byju’s were also among the major brands in the fray for the sponsorship rights of IPL 2020.
Rs 201 crore bid from Byju’s and Unacademy’s bid of Rs 170 crore came second and third respectively in the bidding war for the sponsorship rights of world’s most popular T20 league.
Dream11 has made a three-year winning bid of Rs 712 crore in total and will continue as title sponsors by paying Rs 222 crore for this year’s sponsorship rights and Rs 240 crore each for the next two years if Vivo India does not return as the title sponsor of the league next year.