19 Feb

Vivo will return as title sponsor of the Indian Premier League this year, after stepping back from the role last year and following more recent reports it was looking to exit its deal entirely. 

IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel announced the Chinese mobile phone maker Vivo’s return at the pre-season player auction in Chennai yesterday. 

Vivo originally agreed a five-year deal, from 2018 to 2022, to be title sponsor of the cricket tournament, worth around Rs4.4bn (US$60m) per year. A major diplomatic rift between India and China last year led to a public backlash against Chinese companies in India, and Vivo and the Board of Control for Cricket in India agreed to ‘suspend’ their IPL deal for last year’s tournament. Indian fantasy sports company Dream11 stepped in to be title sponsor, at a reported deal value of Rs2.2bn (US$30m). Dream11 was an existing partner of the IPL under a deal that started in 2019. 

Two weeks ago, it was reported that Vivo was looking to exit its deal entirely. Around the same time, China and India agreed to disengage from a border dispute in the Himalayas which had last year led to deadly clashes between their troops. Both sides have dismantled military camps they had set up in the region. 

ESPNcricinfo reported that the eight IPL franchise teams share 50 per cent of the title sponsorship revenue, or Rs200m (US$2.76m) each. 

At yesterday’s player auction held in Chennai ahead of the 2021 IPL, South African Chris Morris (pictured) became the most expensive player in the competition’s history after Rajasthan Royals paid $2.25m for him. This beat the $2.2m record set by Yuvraj Singh’s acquisition by Delhi in 2015. Morris joins a Royals team that already includes stars such as England’s Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes. 

The figures represent the salaries the players will be paid for this year’s tournament. Each of the eight IPL teams is allowed to spend a total of close to $12m on salaries per year. Each team also has a set of retained players who are not entered into the auction. Players from around the world can apply to be part of the auction and the BCCI whittles them down to create a final list of players that can be bid for. News18 reported that, this year, 1,114 players applied to be part of the auction and the final list numbered 292, including 164 Indian players and 128 from overseas. 

Other major acquisitions this year included Royal Challengers Bangalore’s acquisition of Australian Glenn Maxwell for $1.95m, and the Punjab Kings paying $1.9m for Australian Jhye Richardson. 

The most expensive Indian player was Krishnappa Gowtham, who was acquired by Chennai Super Kings for $1.25m. 

The auction was broadcast live in India by domestic rights-holder Star India, on pay-television and its Hotstar streaming platform and also Sky Sports in the UK. 

This year’s IPL is to start in April. It is planned to take place in India again, after being moved to the United Arab Emirates last year due to the pandemic. 

John Stephenson 


#Cricketnews #Vivo #IPL #PlayerAuction

* The email will not be published on the website.