Dream 11, an online platform for fantasy sports, has acquired the title sponsorship for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. Dream 11 has attained the rights for Rs 222 crore that will be valid till the end of the year. As per the current schedule, IPL will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19 to November 10. Since its original title sponsor, Vivo, a Chinese smartphone maker, cancelled the deal for this year following a public uproar against Chinese firms in the ongoing Sino-Indian border conflict, the BCCI was looking for a new title sponsor for the cash-laden tournament.
Dream 11: Highest bidder
Big India companies including behemoths like Tata Sons and starts-ups such as Unacademy and Byju's, the ed-tech platforms had also placed bids for title sponsorship. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said that Dream11 bid Rs 222 crore for the sponsorship rights. Other contenders, for instance, bid Rs 210 crore, Tata Sons Rs 180 crores and finally Byju, which was offering Rs 125 crore for the sponsorship.
The amount for which Dream 11 has bagged the sponsorship rights is half amount Rs. 439.80 Crore annually promised by VIVO the ousted sponsor due to public outrage. Still, the bidding amount looks promising given the market scenario on the backdrop of the global pandemic which led to severe economic loss. Notably, VIVO had signed a deal with BCCI in 2018 for Rs 2,199 crore in a five-year deal.
Dream 11 still a Chinese company?
Interestingly, VIVO decided to pull out of BCCI deal fearing public outrage for being a Chinese phone maker but the newly announced sponsor also has a Chinese connection. As per the information publicly available, Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent has a majority stake in Mumbai-headquartered fantasy gaming startup Dream11 Fantasy.
Further, the Tencent deal resulted in its co-founder Harsh Jain's stake in the company coming down to 35% which technically making the Chinese becoming a de-facto owner. The outrage was such that the government restricted the investment from neighbouring countries with a focus on China to avoid 'opportunistic takeover' of Indian firms including Govt. contracts for Chinese businesses that have been made virtually made out of bounds for Chinese companies.