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China’s VIVO pulls out as sponsor for IPL after backlash

VIVO has pulled out as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for this year’s edition, following backlash on social media. VIVO had paid Rs 2,199 crore for a five-year contract in 2018.

The BCCI on Sunday had announced that all sponsors were being retained, but VIVO pulled out following criticism on social media in the backdrop of the clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh in June.

Well-placed sources confirmed the development to the TOI on Tuesday saying,”Vivo is going to have to exit the league this year and that looks certain now. How that happens is going to depend on how BCCI and Vivo negotiate the matter. The company (Vivo) has had its own share of issues and the BCCI has optics to deal with, given the political climate. They have to come to some understanding here because legal options can’t be considered in this case”.

BCCI’s bigger headache, if Vivo exits, will be to find a suitable replacement, especially in this market ruined by Covid and at such short notice.

“Even if the Board can get a replacement at 50% of the value, it’ll be an achievement. Anything more than that will actually be a shot in the arm. Let’s hope things settle amicably. The IPL has been planned and everything’s set,” industry stakeholders were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

A source told Moneycontrol that Vivo wanted a cut of Rs 130 crore for this year, citing poor sales and prevailing sentiments against Chinese companies. The company was slated to pay Rs 440 crore this year  as part of the agreement.

He added that BCCI will float fresh tenders for title sponsorship in next three days and will then decide the title sponsor.

Reacting to Vivo’s pullout, the Confederation of All India Traders  (CAIT) has expressed great satisfaction at the development.

“Even though we had expected the BCCI to take a decision and remove Vivo but the BCCI cannot really give up their lust for money  and therefore the pressure applied by CAIT for boycott of the event and withholding permission for IPL 2020 has played strongly on the mind of the Chinese company to push them to take such a bold decision,” said CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.

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