Chinese mobile manufacturing giants VIVO, which had suspended its IPL title sponsorship rights for the 2020 edition, is eyeing an exit from the Indian Premier League by transferring its rights to interested bidders. After an Indo-China standoff at Galwan valley last year, BCCI decided to do away with VIVO keeping in mind the public sentiments. Following that, popular betting platform Dream11 had bagged the IPL title sponsorship rights for the 2020 edition for Rs 222 crore. The amount was was nearly half (Rs 440 crore) of what Vivo was paying annually for a five-year deal.

However, going by the latest reports it seems fantasy gaming platform Dream11 and edu-tech start-up Unacademy are once again in contention to clinch the title sponsorship rights for the cash-rich T20 league.

It is understood that in the prevailing situation when Sino-India geo-political relations are in a sensitive state, Vivo understands that it’s not prudent to continue the association with two years still left.

“It’s almost final that Vivo will exit the IPL title sponsorship deal by mutual consent with the board. It was suspended for the 2020 edition. However, there is a clause that allows them to transfer their pending liabilities as one-time title sponsors on the new winner. If board agrees on principle, it can happen,” a senior BCCI source quoted by PTI on conditions of anonymity.

With IPL set for 9 or 10-team expansion in 2022, it is expected that the new bidder will get at least a three-year title sponsorship rights.

“Dream11 and Unacademy will place their offers to Vivo. Unacademy in any case is an associate sponsor and they are ready to offer a higher amount in order to acquire the rights from Vivo,” an industry insider tracking developments said.

It is learnt that MPL, which is the Indian team’s kit sponsors may not be allowed to bid for title sponsorship as Dream11 has been a title partner and will get what they call in sponsorship parlance “category exclusivity”.

BCCI brass are expecting that a clearer picture might emerge by the weekend once Vivo gets a concrete final offer.

“Look, Vivo paid approximately Rs 440 crore (Rs 2190 crore for 5 years). Now if BCCI invites bids, just like last year when Dream11 paid Rs 222 crore, it might increase but can’t be doubled. But if there is a transfer of rights, the old amount could be matched or even bettered,” the source said.

The IPL will have a mini-auction on February 18 in Chennai with a maximum of 61 slots up for the grabs.

“Since the title rights transfer will take some time, the Vivo logo is expected to be used during the February 18 auction.”