Chinese mobile handset manufacturer Vivo has retained the Indian Premier League title sponsorship rights for the next five seasons (2018-2022) with a winning bid of INR 2199 crores (approximately US $341 million), a jump of 454% over the five-year contract signed in 2012.
Vivo first bagged the title sponsorship in October 2015 for two editions from PepsiCo India, who had ended its five-year contract, worth INR 396 crore, two years ahead of schedule. Vivo's previous arrangement, according to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, saw them pay "a shade less" than INR 100 crore per year.
The base price for this cycle of title rights was set at 15% more than what Vivo paid last year and the company edged out the only other bid of INR 1430 crore from Oppo, another smartphone manufacturer. Incidentally, Oppo had trumped Vivo for the sponsorship rights of the India team in March, with the two companies being the only bidders again.
The bids were opened on Tuesday in Mumbai, in the presence of both parties along with IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and BCCI's acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary.
VIVO retains title sponsorship for IPL 2018-22. They bid Rs.2,199 Crores, 554% increase over the previous contract! pic.twitter.com/6D7RXooTvB— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) June 27, 2017
"When an existing sponsor renews [the contract] and puts in a number like this, then it's a real testimony to the value of this property [IPL]," Johri told ESPNcricinfo. "There are two things: firstly, the preeminence of the IPL as one of the finest global sports properties [is established]. It is unparalleled. If you saw this year's IPL numbers, they were the highest ever. It is a property which continues to grow year after year, and that's what we are seeing .
"Secondly, Vivo, which was already a sponsor for the last two years, putting in this number, that really shows that they are fully aware of the value of this commitment."
Two other companies - Xiaomi and Intex - had picked up the tender document but did not go through with the bid. When asked about the trend of three of the four interested parties being Chinese mobile handset manufacturers, Johri said Oppo and Vivo had adequate exposure to cricket sponsorships.
"You have to understand that both these companies have been involved in cricket sponsorships," he said. "Oppo is one of the sponsors of the ICC, so they have cricket exposure. And, Vivo is an existing IPL sponsor, so they are continuing their investment into cricket, so that shows the importance of cricket, especially Indian cricket. It's not the first time they are doing it, they understand the value."
Working with existing sponsors that have cricket exposure, Johri felt, was a positive for the Indian board. "BCCI is a cricket establishment and people who have cricket exposure are there," he said. "Plus, you see, the ticket price of these sponsorships are so high that you will always have a handful of people. You wouldn't have a 100 people signing up for this, so the really serious guys [are the ones that will come forward]."
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun