IPL's million-dollar Chinese connection

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Aug 03, 2020, 09.06 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Official: BCCI-Vivo suspend partnership for IPL 2020 Photograph:( PTI )

Story highlights

The IPL is facing boycott calls this year. Because, the BCCI won’t dump a Chinese sponsor. Vivo – a Chinese smartphone company is the title sponsor of the tournament. Come September - its logo will be plastered all over IPL venues in the UAE.

It is the biggest cricket tournament of the year. The Indian Premier League. A festival for the fans. A money minter for the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) - the biggest cricket board in the world.

But, the IPL is facing boycott calls this year. Because, the BCCI won’t dump a Chinese sponsor. Vivo – a Chinese smartphone company is the title sponsor of the tournament. Come September - its logo will be plastered all over IPL venues in the UAE.

At a time - when China isn’t willing to back down from the border. After the PLA launched an unprovoked attack on Indian soldiers. 20 Indian soldiers had died in June. India retaliated --- by punishing Chinese companies. Indian citizens are boycotting Chinese products.

But India’s biggest cricket tournament - will not dump Vivo. A Chinese brand.

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Needless to say - this decision hasn’t gone down well with a large section of Indians. From the politicians to citizens, they all have slammed the BCCI. The opposition has latched onto the issue to take on the government. On twitter, angry fans started a hashtag -- boycott IPL.

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Confederation of All India Traders have written to the government. The letter has gone to Home Minister Amit shah --- as well as External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar. They claim that BCCI decision “smacks of its lust for money”. The confederation wants the permission to the BCCI withdrawn.

The IPL starts on the 19th of September. The tournament will be moved to the UAE this year. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be the three venues for the money-spinning tournament.

Why can’t the BCCI dump Vivo?

Since 2018 --- the board received close to INR 3,300 crores for media rights. More than 400 million dollars. It earns 700 crores in sponsorships. That's 93 million dollars. Vivo pays the board 440 crores for the title sponsorship per year. Or 58 million dollars. All of this, doesn’t go into BCCI’s pocket.

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Half of the revenue from the IPL. is distributed to the eight franchises. After doing that --- the BCCI is left with around two thousand crores as income. Or 265 million dollars.

That’s the kind of money that the BCCI makes from the tournament. It can afford to let go of the 440 crores from Vivo.

But, it hasn’t. Reportedly, it was too late for the BCCI to take a call. There are also fears of legal liabilities too. In 2018, Vivo had secured the title sponsorship for the IPL for five years. With a mammoth bid of INR 2,199 crores. That's close to $300 million.

Allegedly - the exit clause in the contract favours the Chinese company. Cricket is more than a sport for India. It is a religion. You must have heard that often.

But, it is also a diplomatic tool. Used to send a message to India’s adversaries. The Indian cricket team doesn’t play with Pakistan. Pakistani players are banned from the IPL.

In 2017, Pakistani commentators were banned too. Why can’t Chinese sponsors be given the boot? How much money is enough for the richest cricket board in the world?

According to a report --- the BCCI had more than five thousand crores as cash and bank balances in its 2018 balance sheets.

That's more than 600 million dollars. A little more than two thousand crores was in the form of fixed deposits. In comparison, the money from the vivo sponsorship is pocket change. Something that the bcci won’t miss from its balance sheets.