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BCCI bets on return of Vivo as title sponsors

The border skirmish involving India and China had led the company to make an exit from last year’s IPL barely a month before the start in the UAE
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Indranil Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.02.21, 04:30 AM

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is confident that Vivo will remain title sponsors for the 14th edition of the IPL, which is expected to be held across five venues in Mumbai and Pune. The playoffs and the final though could take place in Ahmedabad.

The border skirmish involving India and China had led Vivo to exiting last year’s IPL barely a month before the start in the UAE. The BCCI took a hit of Rs 220 crore after Dream11 made a successful bid of Rs 220 crore, half of what Vivo had planned to pay in every edition of their five-year deal, which expires next year.

Sources told The Telegraph that talks are on between Vivo and BCCI and a positive outcome is expected shortly. With border tension easing somewhat, it is expected that objections won’t be raised to Vivo’s continuance as sponsors this year.

Last year, Dream11 had offered to pay Rs 240 crore and Rs 260 crore for 2021 and 2022, respectively, but the BCCI rejected it, anticipating a much bigger largesse. It’s still not clear whether the current deal will be extended till 2023 since it was “paused” for one year.

“It’s a two-way contract, so not fair to make a comment. I can’t accept or deny the fact that we have been in touch with the BCCI,” a Vivo spokesperson said.

There was talk that Vivo was looking to transfer rights to a third party and pay the balance so that BCCI doesn’t lose out on the agreed value (Rs 440 crore), but that seems to have been shelved for now.

Pepsico had transferred the IPL title rights to Vivo for the remaining two years of its five-year deal in 2016.

“Last year can’t be a benchmark. The BCCI won’t settle for anything less than Rs 440 crore this time,” the source maintained.

While the BCCI is mulling allowing spectators for the IPL, it’s almost a given that matches will be held in the

western part of the country. Mumbai’s Wankhede and Brabourne stadiums along with Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil and Reliance Cricket stadiums have been earmarked. Some league matches will be held at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

“Limiting the matches to that part of the country will be easier in creating the bio-bubble. That will prevent extensive travelling, availing numerous flights and passing through several airports while overall reducing the risks associated with Covid-19,” someone in the know of things said.

That will mean Calcuttans missing out on the IPL matches. “Elections will be held here during April and May and slotting matches would have been tough. The state administration hasn’t given permission to host a Masters tournament here beginning later this month,” the source said.

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