Vivo pays Rs 2,200 crore for IPL title rights

Cricket administration may be going through a turbulent time in India, but the game’s fortunes continue to prosper in a manner that defies imagination and makes sums once considered huge seem like small change.

On Tuesday, Chinese mobile-maker Vivo retained the title rights of the Indian Premier League for the next five years at an astounding Rs 2,199 crore, a 455% increase over the previous contract. Vivo had taken over the rights from PepsiCo from the 2015 season onwards after the latter had expressed its inability to continue with its Rs 396 crore deal for five years. Pepsi had bought the title rights from the 2013 season onwards after IPL’s first-ever title rights deal worth Rs 200 crore for five years — signed in 2008 with real estate company DLF — ended.

Breaking it down on a per year basis, the value of IPL’s title rights has soared from Rs 40 crore annually (Rs 200 crore from 2008-2012) to Rs 79.2 crore (Rs 396 crore for 2013-2017)—to Rs 439.8 crore (Rs 2,199 crore for 2018-2022). Or, to put it another way, the value doubled after the first five years of IPL and shot up another five times in the following five years. Vivo’s competitor and another major Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Oppo, bid Rs 1,430 crore—Rs 769 crore less than what Vivo brought to the table. Oppo had beaten Vivo in March this year when it went on to grab the jersey rights of the Indian cricket team—men, women, seniors and juniors—for Rs 1,079 crore, a four-fold increase over the previous deal with Star India.

“We received an overwhelming response for the title sponsorship rights and we are glad to have Vivo back on board. It is a renewal of a fruitful relationship with the brand that will extend for the next five years,” BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said.

Chinese mobile companies, which dominate the phone industry across the world outside of giants Apple and Samsung’s considerable clout, have clearly found cricket to be the ideal platform to showcase their wares. Market sources credit the ‘invasion’ to the incomparable popularity of cricket in the country, one that can be equated with football in Europe and baseball in the Americas merely for the eyeballs it manages to generate.
Vivo’s IPL deal renewal comes less than a month before the BCCI is all set to bring out the much-awaited media rights tender on July 17, and should come as a shot in the arm for the board’s finances.