Dream11, the online fantasy sports company, has won the title rights for IPL 2020 after bidding INR 222 crore ($29.7 million approx.), IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel has confirmed to ESPNcricinfo. Dream11 beat bids from Byju's and Unacademy to win the rights, which run from August 18 to December 31, 2020.

Till late evening, the BCCI had not announced the winning bid through the media release. Just like in 2017, bids were submitted sealed before the winner was determined. However, there was one significant change between the process used this time compared to 2017 when Vivo won the rights. Back then, the bids were opened on the same day as they were submitted and the winner determined after the technical evaluation of the bids.

This time the bids were submitted sealed on August 14 and opened four days later. It is also not yet known whether the IPL Governing Council will need to ratify the final bid before BCCI makes the news public. In 2017 the process was pre-approved by the Governing Council once the wining bid was evaluated.

Dream11 - who are they?

Dream11, based in Mumbai, has been associated with cricket since 2008, when it sponsored Otago Volts in the inaugural Champions League T20, played in India. It is also the official fantasy cricket platform partner with the ICC and will have that status with the IPL too. It has had a strong presence in cricket tournaments around the world of late. It made a debut as title sponsor late last year by associating with New Zealand Cricket for the 2019-20 Super Smash, that country's domestic T20 competition. Then in May, it sponsored the T10 Vincy Premier League in the Caribbean, which was among the first organised cricket tournaments since the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The title sponsorship forms a key part in the IPL's revenue sharing agreement with the franchises; 50% of the title sponsorship money goes to the eight franchises. It is understood each franchise earns over INR 20 crore ($2.7 million approx.) per year from the title sponsorship"

The latest deal further strengthens Dream 11's association with the BCCI. In 2018, it became the BCCI's official partner for the IPL, and then the official partner for all international and domestic matches in India last October. The company, which has a global presence with a tie-up with the NBA, also has prominent crickets as its brand ambassadors, including MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Ben Stokes. Its primary investors include Tencent, the Shanghai-based social media company.

Why did IPL need a new sponsor?

Soon after the clashes between armed forces in June, the BCCI had said it would "review" the sponsorship deals concerning the IPL. "Taking note of the border skirmish that resulted in the martyrdom of our brave jawans, the IPL Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to review IPL's various sponsorship deals," BCCI said in a tweet posted on June 19.

The title sponsorship forms a key part in the IPL's revenue sharing agreement with the franchises; 50% of the title sponsorship money goes to the eight franchises. It is understood each franchise earns over INR 20 crore ($2.7 million approx.) per year from the title sponsorship. The BCCI's bidding conditions specified that only companies with an annual turnover of INR 300 crore ($40 million approx.) or more would be eligible to bid for the IPL title sponsorship.

The winning bid, the BCCI had said, would not necessarily need to be the highest bidder and would depend on various other factors. "For the avoidance of doubt, it is clarified that BCCI shall not be obliged to award the rights to the third party which indicates willingness to pay the highest fees in the course of discussions/negotiations," the BCCI said in a media release on August 10.

"BCCI's decision in this regard will also depend on a number of other relevant factors. It includes, but is not limited to, the manner in which the third party intends to exploit the rights and the potential impact of the same on brand IPL as also the fan/viewer experience, which will be examined and evaluated by BCCI in the course of discussions/negotiations with interested third parties who submit an EOI."