IPL 2020: Dream11 wins title sponsorship rights; pips Byju's, Unacademy

Topics IPL 2020 | Dream11 | Byju

The duration of sponsorship, said experts, would not be an issue with Dream11 because the gaming app revolves around the IPL
The suspense around the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2020 edition came to an end on Tuesday, with gaming app Dream11 emerging the winner with a bid of Rs 222 crore.

IPL Commissioner Brijesh Patel confirmed to Business Standard that Dream11’s bid was more than the offers made by the two other contenders — Unacademy and Byju’s, which had set aside Rs 171 crore and Rs 201 crore, respectively, for the title sponsorship.

The Tata group, Patel said, had expressed an interest, but did not put in a bid. “We were left with three start-ups in the race. One may argue that they have Chinese investments, so what purpose did it serve. But the fact remains that these firms were ready to set aside investment for the title sponsorship and they put bids in the end. The others did not,” Patel said.

It was unclear whether the fantasy sports platform would now give up its existing associate partnership with the IPL. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns and runs the IPL, will soon take a call on the matter, it is learnt.

Besides the Tata group, Reliance Jio, Amazon, and Patanjali had expressed an interest last week for the title sponsorship rights. However, conflict of interest and brand-fit issues had emerged in the case of Jio and Patanjali, while Amazon dropped out of the race as it was seeking a longer-term association, rather than a four-month window for the title sponsorship, people in the know said.

The duration of sponsorship, said experts, would not be an issue with Dream11 because the gaming app revolves around the IPL.

The app allows a user to choose his or her team before a cricket match starts, and pick which players will perform the best. Based on their performance during the actual match, the user accumulates points and gets a rank at the end of the game. If the user participates in a game with money, it goes into a common pool, and the winner gets the amount after being charged a service fee.

“Fantasy gaming is a seasonal business, dependent on leagues and big tournaments. This is a dream break for Dream11 and it will do what Vivo did earlier: Ensure it becomes mainstream,” said N Chandramouli, chief executive officer of TRA Research, a brand advisory firm based in Mumbai.

Dream11 is likely to start its marketing activities around the IPL in the next 15-20 days as it seeks to amplify its title sponsorship, media industry experts said. The IPL kicks off in the United Arab Emirates next month. While the gaming app had about 50 million subscribers last year, the number has doubled now, sector experts said. The BCCI was left with no option but to seek a new title sponsor after Vivo, which forked out Rs 440 annually, decided to pause its sponsorship this year, following anti-China protests.

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