The decision on whether Vivo will continue to be the title sponsor for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League hasn’t been finalised as yet. Even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India had named Vivo as the title sponsor in their IPL Auction list press release on Thursday (February 11), the two parties are yet to come to an agreement.
Cricbuzz understands that the reintroduction of the title sponsor’s brand as a prefix to the IPL is only temporary, pending a final arrangement between the two parties. The IPL will carry the name of Vivo as its title sponsor till at least the auction on February 18.
“We have been told that it will be called Vivo IPL till the auction as per the original agreement. The previous agreement was paused only till December 31 last year. So the original agreement has kicked in from January 1. Till an alternative arrangement has been made, the brand name will remain,” said a franchise official.
Another official added, “The BCCI is going by the book and is extending all the benefits to Vivo. It is now up to Vivo. Whether or not it is interested, it still will have to pay up.”
Vivo has gone to the market looking for sub-licensing the sponsorship rights and has engaged its media agency, Group M, to find a suitable party. The arrangement would be such that the BCCI would have to be paid Rs 440 crore per season and should the new party offer less than that, Vivo would have to top it up to comply with the agreement.
The BCCI and the Chinese firm had ‘paused’ the five-year contract for a year last season following tension at the Indo-China border and anti-China sentiments in the country. Dream 11 had filled in for the last season. But Cricbuzz understands that the fantasy games company is no longer keen to come on board again. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel, Vivo and Group M declined to comment.
Teams must spend 75 per cent of money
Meanwhile, the BCCI has made it clear that the franchises must spend 75 percent of the total salary cap of Rs 85 crore. In a letter to the teams outlining the auction rules, the BCCI said, “Franchisees are reminded of the IPL squad rules with respect to a minimum (18) and maximum (25) squad size, minimum squad spend (Rs 63.75 crores) and the maximum number of overseas players in the squad (8) which are referred to in Sections A and E of the Player Regulations.” If a team spends only Rs 60 crore on buying the players, the BCCI will take away Rs 3.75 crore from that franchise.
The BCCI told the teams that it will send the availability details of overseas players ‘shortly’, along with an update on the players who have been reported or banned for suspect bowling actions. The availability issue could cause some controversy given that Cricket South Africa, on Friday (February 12) announced a white-ball series against Pakistan, which will end on April 16. Factoring in the quarantine requirement, the South African players could miss up to 12 days of action as the IPL is, tentatively, expected to start on April 9 or 10.