The decision to review the IPL’s sponsorship deals in the wake of India’s border dispute with China has evoked a mixed response — both within the BCCI and from industry.
IPL authorities had recently issued an unattributed statement on its verified Twitter handle, indicating that a Governing Council (GC) meeting would be convened to “review” sponsorship deals. This put a question mark over title sponsor Vivo as well as three other associate sponsors of the BCCI/IPL — Dream11, Byju’s and PayTM, which are funded by Chinese entities.
In bad shape
Given the ‘sensitivity’ of the matter, no BCCI official was available for comment. However, a GC member, on condition of anonymity, conceded that terminating sponsorship deals now will significantly affect BCCI’s already troubled financial situation.
“We aren’t sure about the fate of IPL this season. Moreover, with the economy in a bad shape, chances of getting a new sponsor at the same price are remote, to say the least. I am not sure whether this is a wise move,” he said.
Mobile handset manufacturer Vivo shells out approximately ₹440 crore per IPL edition. Byju’s, the Indian team’s main sponsor, pays ₹4.61 crore for each of India’s international matches, except those in ICC events (₹1.56 crore per match).
Sleight of hand
Ad film director and entrepreneur Prahlad Kakkar offered a solution. “It’s a no-brainer that you can’t get the same price should you decide to replace the sponsor. Instead, it’s best to make them pay for the sponsorship deals and boycott the products,” Kakkar told The Hindu. “That’s a good Indian rhetoric: Take money from one hand and don’t pass it on from another. It’s called a sleight of hand or divine justice.”
Interestingly, even if the BCCI decides to follow Kakkar’s prescription, captain Virat Kohli, who is the brand ambassador of Vivo India, will find himself in a difficult situation.