Published: 12th August 2020
After BYJU's sponsoring Team India, now Unacademy enters fray for IPL title sponsorship rights
Unacademy will be looking to replace Vivo, which annually paid Rs 440 crore, dropped out as title sponsor this year due to the Sino-India border stand-off
Education technology company Unacademy, which is already one of IPL's sponsors, is eyeing the league's title sponsorship rights currently and is set to submit its bid to replace Chinese mobile phone company Vivo this season. A BCCI official confirmed on Wednesday that Unacademy has picked up the bid papers but refrained from making any comments beyond that. "I can confirm that Unacademy has shown interest and picked the bid papers. I have heard they will be submitting a bid and are pretty serious. So Patanjali if they bid, will have competition," the senior official told agencies on condition of anonymity.
Unacademy will be replacing Vivo, which annually paid Rs 440 crore, dropped out as title sponsor this year due to the Sino-India border stand-off. The BCCI is now looking at a lesser value between Rs 300 to 350 crore for a period of four months and 13 days.
The BCCI official said Unacademy is a part of IPL's central sponsorship pool with other companies like Dream11 and Paytm. "Yes, Unacademy is already in IPL's central sponsors' pool from 2020 to 2023." Asked what's the difference between central sponsorship and title sponsorship, the official explained, "The central sponsorship doesn't include jersey rights."
"In IPL, jersey logo can only be of title sponsor and apart from that various team's sponsors. If they become title sponsors, it will give them rights on various branding properties," he said. Asked about the specifics, he said: "The prominent space in the backdrop board in the post-presentation area, the backdrop in the dugout, and boundary rope. A lot of these branding opportunities apart from digital and media opportunities are part of the partnership," the senior official said in news reports.
While no one from Unacademy was prepared to speak on the issue, an industry insider, who is privy to the EdTech company's preparations to file a bid, said the firm is ready to take the big plunge. "Unlike some of the other EdTech apps, Unacademy has 100 per cent Indian investment. And four and half months is the perfect time to get associated with a brand like IPL and broaden their horizons in terms of brand outreach," the source close to the development said.
This is not the first time an EdTech company has forayed into the area of sports. In July it was announced that BYJU’s will be the new jersey sponsors for the Indian cricket team. BYJU’s is a leading education and learning app and has superstar Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador. "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is pleased to welcome India’s leading education and learning app BYJU’S (Think and Learn Privately Limited) as the official Team India sponsor from September 5, 2019, until March 31, 2022. BYJU’S will be taking over all obligations of the current team sponsor OPPO mobiles India private limited (OPPO). BYJU’S will now be seen on the Indian team jersey from September 2019 when the home series against South Africa begins," BCCI stated in a press release.
In March 2017, Oppo won the Indian team jersey rights for a five-year period after outbidding Vivo mobiles’ Rs 768 crore bid. As per the deal earlier, Oppo was paying BCCI Rs 4.61 crore per bilateral match and Rs 1.56 crore for an ICC event game.