Ever since Vivo and Board of Control for Cricket in India called off their association for Indian Premier League 2020, there has been plenty of speculation on who the title sponsor for this year's IPL will be.
Friday (August 14) was the last date of submission of 'Expression Of Interest' to the BCCI. The IPL will be held from September 19 to November 10 in the UAE this year and the winning bidder will hold the rights for four months and 13 days.
A bidding war is expected on August 18 and the BCCI is expecting that the winning bid will not be much lower than Vivo's Rs 440 crore annual contract even though the rights period is of a short duration.
Here is a look at the main contenders:
Tata SonsImage for representation. (Image source: Reuters)
The Tata group's interest in title sponsorship of IPL 2020 could well make it the favourite, although they've had little experience in cricket sponsorship. They're a purely Desi company, which could turn out to be an advantage in times of an Anti-China sentiment, which might have played a big part in Vivo pulling out of this year's tournament.
According to Livemint, Tata Sons is leading the race to become the title sponsors. The choice will be based not only on the bid, but also the impact it will have on the brand value of the tournament.
While Tata has in the past employed the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri, they've also had experience of sponsoring in other sports.
They sponsor the Maharashtra Open Tennis torurnament and also have a team in India Super League, Jamshedpur cc.
A fantasy cricket website, Dream 11 is already associated with the BCCI as sponsors. Dream 11 is also the official fantasy league partner for the Indian Premier League, apart from having associations with several franchises.
However, Chinese investments could work against them.
"A lot of times, some unknown organisations can bid insanely and then you might find there are questions regarding their credibility. Also what if a company, with sizeable Chinese investment, bids?
"Then the whole postponement of partnership with Vivo will look very stupid," a veteran official was quoted as saying by PTI.
Education and learning app Byju's replaced Oppo as official sponsor of Team India in July 2019. However, like Dream 11, chinese investments in Byju's could work against them.
Byju's had initially signed an agreement with Kolkata Knight Riders for principle sponsorship earlier in the year. Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of KKR, is also a brand ambassador for Byju's.
However, with the league postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Byju's has withdrawn from the KKR deal. Mobile Premier League, a gaming platform, replaced Byju's in the KKR deal.
Like Tata, Unacademy is an Indian brand. An education technology company which is already one of IPL’s sponsors, Unacademy is eyeing the league’s title sponsorship rights.
"Unlike some of the other Edu-Tech apps, Unacademy has 100 per cent Indian investment. And four and half months is the perfect time to get associated with a brand like IPL and broaden their horizons in terms of brand outreach,” a source who is privy to the Edu-tech company’s preparations to file a bid had told PTI recently.
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali has said it will come forward 'if other Indian corporate houses don't make any bid'.
“It is too early to talk about it as Patanjali will only come to the forefront (for IPL title sponsorship) if other Indian corporate houses don’t make any bid for the IPL title sponsorship,” Ramdev was quoted as saying at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar, reported by the Hindustan Times.
“Patanjali will only make bid when no other Indian company comes out or is in the fray for IPL title sponsorship deal. There are many Indian firms, corporates and companies that have been investing, sponsoring and associated with international cricket and IPL.
“People do not want Chinese products or firms to be associated with cricket and other sports, which clearly indicates Indians being vocal for local,” he stated.
“After Doklam, India-China relations have soured and Indians have realised the nefarious designs of China, so it is imperative we opt for localised indigenous products only,” Ramdev added.
The Haridwar-based Patanjali group has an estimated turnover of around Rs 10,500 crores. It had acquired debt-ridden Ruchi Soya in a corporate insolvency resolution process for around Rs 4,350 crore after competing with Adani Group. Patanjali Ayurved had reported a revenue of Rs 8,329 crore in FY 2018-19.