Dream11 on Wednesday were confirmed as the title sponsors for the 2020 edition of the IPL to be held in the UAE, but hours, after BCCI awarded the sponsorship to the Fantasy sports platform yesterday, reports of the company’s majority stakes owned by a Chinese multinational emerged.
However, CricketNext has learned that Dream11, which has more than eight crore Indian users, is almost entirely owned by Indians, which include its Founders, all 400+ Indian employees, and their large Indian investors such as Kalaari Capital and Multiples Equity. Only a small minority stake – less than 9% - is held by Tencent.
Last year, it became India’s first gaming start-up to be valued at over $1 billion. And the BCCI is stressing on the fact that Dream11 is an Indian company. Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is one of the financial backers of Dream11. Tencent also has invested in several Indian internet platforms, including music application Gaana and internet messenger Hike.
“Being a proud homegrown Indian brand that is made in India, by Indians and exclusively for Indian sports fans, we would like to thank the BCCI for giving us an opportunity to become the title sponsor of IPL, which in our opinion is the world’s greatest sports property, ” the board said in a statement released today.
Last year, Dream11 had signed on as one of the official partners of the league. Vivo India had bagged the IPL title sponsorship rights for five years in 2017 for Rs 2199 crore, committing to pay the league approximately Rs 440 crore every season.
The Chinese mobile-manufacturer had replaced soft-drink giants PepsiCo to enter the title sponsorship. The BCCI needed a new title sponsor for the tournament after Vivo suspended the contract for this year following a public backlash against Chinese companies amid the ongoing border dispute. Dream11 itself has associated with 6 of the 8 IPL Teams and a total of 19 sports leagues - in addition to partnering with 23 sports personalities.
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