Dubai: The suspense over the title-sponsors of IPL 2020 ended on Tuesday with Dream 11, a fantasy sports platform, upstaging a handful of fancied teams to win the rights for the 13th edition of the event. The tournament is now scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.
“Dream 11 has won the title sponsorship for INR 222 crore (Dh 110 million approximately),” IPL chairman Brijesh Patel told a news agency earlier in the day.
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The IPL faced a crisis over title-sponsors when VIVO, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturers, decided to suspend their agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in view of the tension in Sino-Indian relations in June. The BCCI sent out invitations to third parties for their Expression of Interest (EOI) in acquiring the title-sponsorship rights on August 10 and came up with the names of the alternative choice on the cut-off day itself.
The figure of Dh 110 million, incidentally 50% of the amount VIVO used to pay annually, raises eyebrows in view of the figures doing the rounds in the media throughout the week. Tata Sons, online learning apps Byju’s and Unacademy had submitted their entries in the fray, which would be valid from August 18 to December 31 before VIVO comes back again next year to complete their tenure till 2023.
While Tata Sons appeared to be the heavyweights on paper, sources in the BCCI said they eventually stayed away from bidding due to a technicality. ‘‘The Tata Group wanted to place their bids as a conglomerate but the board wanted a single brand to place the bid as per their norms,’’ sources said.
The jigsaw for the IPL seems to be falling into place further with the BCCI scheduled to announce the name of the official healthcare providers who will be handling the all-important bio-security over due to the tournament. UAE-based VPS Healthcare has emerged as a surprise top contender in the race which had three companies in the running - Restrata from UK and Tata Medical and Diagnostics from India being the other two.
Restrata, incidentally, has provided the bio security cover for English & Wales Cricket Board for the two Test series in England against the West Indies and Pakistan, respectively.
Meanwhile, South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje will replace England’s Chris Woakes in the Delhi Capitals squad for this year’s league, the franchise said.
Woakes, a key part of England’s 50-over World Cup-winning squad last year and a regular member of the Test team, pulled out of the IPL to prolong his international career. The 31-year-old has not played for his country in the Twenty20 format since 2015.
Nortje, 26, made his international debut last year and has played six Tests, seven one-dayers and three T20 matches.
“With its exciting mix of experienced and young players, and a stellar coaching line-up, there is no doubt this is going to be a massive learning experience for me,” said Nortje, who joined Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019 but was ruled out with a shoulder injury.