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Bengaluru: RCB Skipper Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after victory over KXIP during the Indian Premier League 2019 (IPL T20) cricket match. (Photo: PTI)
Bengaluru: RCB Skipper Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after victory over KXIP during the Indian Premier League 2019 (IPL T20) cricket match. (Photo: PTI)

Race for IPL 2020’s sponsorship heats up

  • Flush with funds, online firms are clearly leading the race for the sponsorship of the T20 tournament
  • The field is open to firms with a revenue of at least 300 crore and they need to apply by 14 August

Amazon India, the country’s first gaming unicorn Dream11 and ed-tech platform Unacademy have joined the race for the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 cricket tournament.

In a field buzzing with prospective bidders, beverage maker Coca-Cola India said it continues to evaluate the opportunity a day after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) floated a tender to invite expression of interest from advertisers on Monday.

“We are currently observing how the market situation is evolving and we are evaluating the opportunities that are available. As a company policy, we cannot comment on any speculation," said a spokesperson from Coca-Cola India.

Unacademy, the learning platform backed by Sequoia, Nexus Venture Partners and SAIF Partners, is bidding for the IPL sponsorship, a person aware of the development confirmed.

With Chinese mobile brand Vivo opting out of title sponsorship, the slot is up for grabs. “Unacademy wants to give this a fair chance. By bidding for IPL sponsorship, the ed-tech firm is looking at becoming one of the top global brands. The title sponsorship will help the 100% homegrown brand, having no Chinese investors, to enhance its brand through IPL," said the person, while declining to comment on the asking price being negotiated. Currently, Unacademy is the official partner for IPL until 2023.

Dream11 declined to comment on whether it had put in a bid.

A person familiar with Byju’s plans said the company intends to place a 300 crore bid for the title sponsorship.

Tata group and Amazon did not respond to email queries sent by Mint.

On Monday, BCCI released a tender inviting companies to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for the title sponsorship of the four-month-long IPL 2020. The field is open to firms with a revenue of at least 300 crore and they need to apply by 14 August.

The board is likely to announce the new title sponsor by 18 August with a seven-day window for interested companies to submit the bid. It is expected to offer a 20% to 30% discount on the current sponsorship price pegged at 440 crore owing to challenging market conditions.

BCCI has made it clear that the sponsorship will not necessarily go to the highest bidder—it will also review the marketing potential and weigh the likely impact of the association on the IPL brand.

Flush with funds, online firms are clearly leading the race for the sponsorship of the T20 tournament.

Salman S.H. & Suneera Tandon contributed to the story.

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