Chinese Smartphone Company Vivo Back As IPL Title Sponsor

NEW DELHI: Chinese smartphone company Vivo is back as the title sponsor of the Indian Premium League cricket tournament, almost a year after the sponsorship deal with the BCCI was suspended amid the India-China border standoff.

The company, which competes with players like Xiaomi and Samsung in the Indian market, also stated that it will expand its portfolio of premium devices, and focus on new technologies like 5G.

“Vivo is back as the title sponsor of IPL and that is very encouraging and exciting for us because IPL is the biggest property in India and is a perfect amalgamation of sports and entertainment, so we are looking forward to the 9th of April, when IPL begins,” Vivo India Director Brand Strategy Nipun Marya told PTI on Wednesday.

He also said the temporary hold was a mutual decision, and the company and BCCI looked at the larger environment before deciding on putting the sponsorship on hold for a year.

“The whole environment has certainly now changed for the better and overall the environment is better. I think it’s befitting that Vivo is back as the IPL title sponsor... Our old contract is as it is and we continue with all the terms and conditions we earlier had on the contract,” Marya said.

This year’s edition of IPL will run from April 9 to May 30 across six venues—Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the final on May 30 as well as the play-offs.

Vivo’s sponsorship deal with the BCCI, worth Rs 440 crore per year, was suspended last season due to the India-China border standoff. Vivo had won the IPL title sponsorship rights for five years from 2018 to 2022 for a reported sum of Rs 2,190 crore. It will now be the title sponsor till 2023.

Dream11 had been the IPL title sponsors for the 2020 edition, winning the rights for Rs 222 crore. The matches were played in the UAE in view of the pandemic.

Marya cited research firm GfK’s data to state that the company had highest market share in offline retail in three out of four quarters last year. As per the GfK report, Vivo held 27 per cent market share and clocked an annual growth of 10 per cent last year even when the industry shrank by 17 per cent in a pandemic-hit year.

He added that the company has a presence in more than 70,000 outlets and that the brand is doing well across geographies. Vivo will also add about 100 exclusive stores, taking the total number of such stores to 650 by the end of the year.

Marya said as per the GfK data of the December 2020 quarter, the market has grown by 5 per cent.

“So, I think that growth is coming back and that is why we are quite optimistic about the upcoming quarters and the year where we will be launching multiple new products. In fact, in the premium segment, we’re looking at launching five to six new products,” he said.

Apart from focussing on introducing devices with excellent imaging capabilities, he said the company will also focus on 5G and its portfolio of devices priced above Rs 20,000 will be 5G-enabled.

“There you will see a lot of action from our side and the way we have invested in 5G in the last so many years, Vivo take a strong position as far as launching products in 5G. We will be at the forefront of innovation, bringing latest product to the market when it comes to 5G,” he said.

Vivo saw its revenue in India growing over 45 per cent to about Rs 25,060 crore in FY20 over the previous fiscal even as its losses widened significantly over the previous fiscal on account of higher total expenses.

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