IPL-Trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In a bid to find a title sponsor for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has laid down strict conditions for potential bidders. The BCCI has emphatically stated its reluctance to associate with Chinese companies or brands. The sponsorship rights come with a hefty reserve price of INR 360 crore per year.
Why the cold shoulder to China? According to a report in Cricbuzz, it turns out that the BCCI has learned its lesson from a not-so-pleasant encounter with Vivo, a Chinese smartphone maker. After the India-China border standoff, Vivo chose to gracefully exit its five-year sponsorship deal, handing over the reins to the Tata Group.
But it’s not just China that’s getting the cold shoulder. The BCCI is playing hard to get with companies associated with fantasy games, sportswear, and cryptocurrency.
Quoting a key clause from the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document, it explicitly states, “Each bidder which is a corporate entity must not be incorporated in a jurisdiction/territory with which India does not have a friendly relation,” as quoted by Cricbuzz.
The eligibility criteria are a laundry list of no-gos. If one is into gambling or betting, crypto trading, or even the production of sportswear, they are out of the game. Even companies operating from tax havens like Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands are inapplicable.
“Bidders operating/engaged directly or indirectly in athleisure, performance wear, and sportswear will not be eligible, says the ITT.
The need for a new title sponsor arose as the previous deal with the Tata Group reached its climax after the last season. The BCCI is looking for a five-year commitment, and the reserve price is a nod to what the Tata Group had been paying for the past two seasons.
But the big question is: Is anyone interested? Initial responses to the sponsorship tender haven’t exactly set the field on fire. However, there’s still time for potential sponsors to snag the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document until January 8. The bidding showdown is expected to unfold around January 13-14.
Ineligibility of Bidders:
(a) Bidders, along with their Group companies, are not eligible if: (i) they engage in betting, gambling services, or similar activities in India or globally; (ii) they provide such services to individuals in India; and (iii) they have any investment or ownership stake in entities involved in betting or gambling services in India.
(b) Bidders, along with their Group companies, must refrain from direct or indirect involvement in the business of crypto trading, crypto exchange, crypto tokens, or similar ventures.
(c) Bidders engaged in multiple brand/project categories, including those related to alcohol products or tobacco, cannot submit a Bid for the prohibited Brand Categories. However, they are welcome to submit a Bid for any other non-prohibited Brand Category.
(d) Bidders, along with their Group companies, directly or indirectly involved in fantasy gaming are not allowed to participate in the bidding process. This includes engagement or operation in the business of fantasy sports gaming.
(e) Bidders, directly or indirectly associated with athleisure, performance wear, and sportswear, are disqualified from the bidding process.
(f) Bidders are strictly prohibited from submitting Bids through surrogate Brands. This prohibition encompasses any attempt to indirectly submit a Bid on behalf of a different entity or person, using different names, brand identities, or logos.