IPL 2020 to be sponsored by Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali after Chinese VIVO’s exit?

IPL 2020 to be sponsored by Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali after Chinese VIVO’s exit?

If everything goes well, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali will become the title sponsors of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) scheduled to start on September 19 in the UAE. The company is mulling bidding for the IPL title sponsorship this year, the Economic Times reported citing Patanjali spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala. 

The company believes that the IPL sponsorship will give Patanjali a global marketing platform. “This is for Vocal For Local and making one Indian brand as global, this is the right platform. We are considering into that perspective,” Tijarawala told PTI. However, Tijarawala also added that the company is yet to take a final call on the issue. “We have to take a final decision, whether we would take it or not,” he  added. 

According to him, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is coming with the expression of interest on Monday and it has to submit its proposal by August 14.

The title sponsorship slot for this year’s IPL became vacant after Chinese company VIVO walked out of the BCCI partnership for the event’s upcoming edition amid the Sino-India border face-off. 

Apart from Patanjali, other names doing the rounds as potential candidates for the IPL sponsorship title include Paytm, Jio, Amazon, the Tata group, Dream11, Adani group and education start-up Byjus. However, awarding the sponsorship to Byjus, Paytm and Dream11—all three funded by various Chinese investors—might raise questions, too. 

If Patanjali—an unapologetically nationalistic company—wins the bid, it might be seen as rubbing on to the existing wound of Chinese app ban in India. At the same time, Patanjali lacks the international appeal for an event like IPL. 

In fact, an IPL deal will give more international exposure for the Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved, which sells a range of grocery products including toothpaste, honey and noodles in the ayurveda and natural products space. It has been losing ground in large categories like biscuits and noodles over the past two years, owing to trade disruptions and allegedly inconsistent quality from time to time.

The title sponsorship is a significant part of the IPL’s commercial revenue, half of which is shared equally by the eight franchises. Hence, the end of the deal could spell losses for the franchises as they get a substantial share from the sponsorship pool. VIVO won the IPL title sponsorship rights for five years from 2018 to 2022 for a reported sum of Rs 2,190 crore, approximately Rs 440 crore per annum. Half of the annual VIVO sponsorship money is distributed equally among eight franchises, which comes to Rs 27.5 crore.

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