Top officials in the Board of Control for Cricket in India told ET that Vivo had been looking for a reduction in the sponsorship sum due to the Covid-19 disruption and decided to sit this one out as anti-China sentiment intensified over the past two days.
The move came less than 48 hours after the IPL governing council announced on Sunday night that all the sponsors of the league would be retained. Officials said Vivo executives had been trying to get some clarity on IPL since June, but BCCI did not pay any attention.
On Monday, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticised BCCI’s decision to allow Vivo to sponsor IPL. Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convenor, SJM, said that the decision goes against the current mood of the nation.
Once it was clear that the league would not be played in India, Vivo decided to invoke clauses of their agreement that allow it to renegotiate the deal if IPL moves out of the country.
“First, we thought Vivo was just asking for heavy discounts as per their agreement, but after the governing council meeting, they came back saying that in the current environment, sponsoring IPL will do more harm than good to the Vivo brand. BCCI has agreed and will sign a mutual agreement to extend the partnership. Modalities are being worked upon,” said a highly placed official.
Vivo declined to comment on the matter.
Vivo, which commands the second-highest share of India’s smartphone market, pays Rs 440 crore to the BCCI every year as the title sponsor.