Chinese phone maker Vivo, which backed out as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, is likely to opt out of the IPL 2021 edition too due to the anti-China sentiments that are still prevalent in India.
The phone brand wants to completely exit the five-year deal which was supposed to end in 2022, according to reports.
"It's almost final that Vivo will exit the IPL title sponsorship deal by mutual consent with the board. It was suspended for the 2020 edition,” a senior BCCI source told the Press Trust of India (PTI).
The front-runner to replace the mobile phone manufacturer is last season’s title sponsor Dream11.
Dream11, which is the largest fantasy sports platform in India, paid INR 222 crore for IPL 2020’s sponsorship rights, nearly half of the INR 440 crore Vivo reportedly paid annually, and had a massive return on investment in the last season.
According to reports, the Mumbai-based fantasy gaming giant achieved over 5.3 million user concurrency (total players at one single point of time) last year and managed 60 million requests per minute.
With more than 18 million contest joins in a single match and around 7.9 million entries in a single contest, it experienced a surge of 44.4 per cent traffic volume in IPL 2020 as against the final match of IPL 2019.
Dream11’s gains can be attributed to the visibility it received as the title sponsor and will want to emulate the success in IPL 2021 by coming on board again.
Vivo, which paid a reported sum of INR 2,190 crore for five years, can withdraw from the deal by transferring the rights to interested parties.
“There is a clause which allows them (Vivo) to transfer their pending liabilities as one-time title sponsors on the new winner. If BCCI agrees on principle, it can happen,” an industry insider tracking developments told PTI.
Along with Dream11, education technology startup, Unacademy is the favourite to take up the title rights from Vivo.
"Dream11 and Unacademy will place their offers to Vivo," the insider added.
With several fantasy gaming platforms also witnessing monumental growth, Dream11 will aim to strengthen its influence in the flourishing fantasy sports market of India by coming on as the title sponsor again for IPL 2021.