IPL's Title Sponser Vivo pulls out amid anti-China sentiment

Vivo, the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League 2020, has pulled out after a disagreement with the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) over a discount on the sponsorship fee and also in response to the growing opposition to its involvement in the tournament, as it is a Chinese brand.

The IPL Governing council had announced on August 2, 2020 that it would be retaining all the IPL sponsors including Chinese brand Vivo, which was the title sponsor. The announcement was met with heavy criticism, as it comes at a time when tensions between India and China are high due to the violent stand-off at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. 

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer has decided to sit out from this year's IPL edition after the BCCI did not agree to its request seeking a reduction in the sponsorship sum due to the COVID-19 disruption. 

Win-win for BCCI?

Vivo's volluntary pull out from the 2020 IPL edition is kind of a face-saver for the BCCI amid the rising anti-China sentiment. However, this also means that the BCCI will have to find another Title sponsor in the midst of the pandemic with just a little over a month left for the IPL to kick off. 

Key Highlights 

The Vivo executive were reportedly trying to get clarity over IPL since June but they did not get any confirmation from the BCCI.

The BCCI confirmed in July that the 2020 IPL edition will be played in the United Arab Emirates. Once this was formal,  Vivo decided to invoke clauses of their agreement, which allows it to renegotiate its deal if the IPL moves out of the country.

Besides asking for heavy discount, Vivo also felt that  sponsoring IPL will do more harm than good to its brand amid the growing opposition to Chinese brands in India after the Galwan clash. 

BCCI has reportedly agreed and will sign a mutual agreement to extend the partnership with Chinese company. The two parties are currently working on the modalities. 

This means that while Vivo will continue its affiliation with the BCCI, it will not be a part of this year's edition. 

Background 

Vivo enjoys the second-highest share of India’s smartphone market. It pays around Rs 440 crore to the BCCI every year as the title sponsor. The Chinese company is also the presenting sponsor and spends an additional Rs 100-150 crore on marketing and television promotions during the tournament.

The BCCI's decision to allow Vivo to sponsor the Indian Premier League 2020 was going against the current anti-China mood of the nation. The Indian government had recently banned 106 Chinese apps including TikTok, SHAREit, CamScanner, UC Browser, WeChat and Helo stating that they were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India and security and defence of state and public order.

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