The bid for the next Indian Premier League (IPL) title sponsorship has come to conclusion and Fantasy sports platform Dream11 emerged in the race to bag the cash-rich tournament sponsorship. Earlier, due to the negative publicity it has gained over the last few weeks amid the Indo-China tension on the border, Vivo Communication Technology Co’s withdrew from sponsoring the upcoming event.
Following the unprecedented exit of the Chinese brand, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had sent out invitations to third parties to express their interest (EOI) in acquiring the title sponsorship rights for IPL 2020. Earlier this week, The IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed to a news portal that Dream11 is the title sponsor of the IPL 2020 following the Rs 222 crore for the 4.5-month deal.
“In the given circumstances, we are happy with the deal. These rights are only for four months and only for this edition of the IPL,” the tournament’s chairman Brijesh Patel said. Dream11 left other big sponsors behind including Unacademy, which made a bid of Rs 210 crore, the Tata group, which made a bid of Rs 180 crore, and Byju’s, which made a bid of Rs 125 crore.
Founded in 2008 by Harsh Jain (CEO) and Bhavit Sheth (COO), Mumbai-based Dream11 has over 80 million users and is the first gaming startup from India to reach the unicorn status, an industry term for startups valued above $1 billion. Its investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples, Tencent Holdings and Steadview Capital Management.
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In 2018, Dream 11 announced tie-ups with the International Cricket Council, Pro Kabaddi League, International Hockey Federation and Big Bash League, offering fantasy leagues on their flagship tournaments. The overall Indian revenue from fantasy gaming rose from Rs 920 crore in March 2019 to Rs 2,470 crore in 12 months, according to the reports.
Although it is an Indian owned company, one of its investors, Tencent is a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company that was founded in 1998. It is also learnt that Byju’s, who is Indian cricket team’s principal sponsor and was one of the bidders for IPL title rights, also has Chinese investment. It left Chinese shadows of behind the curtain the event despite calls for total boycott.
The T20 tournament was originally scheduled to begin on March 29, pushed back in April, and later postponed indefinitely due to the on-going global health crisis. Following the postponement of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) T20 World Cup in Australia, IPL had a chance to proceed with plans on staging the tournament in September-October window.
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