It was too good to resist. Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved has jumped onto the IPL bandwagon as one of the bidders for the title sponsorship; a berth is vacant with the Chinese smartphone makers Vivo calling it a day, possibly under duress in the backdrop of the Galwan standoff.
The indication came even as BCCI received the central government's formal approval to host this year's IPL in the UAE.
The sponsorship could catapult the Haridwar-based firm into the big league, clearing the decks for its emergence as a global marketing platform. So, it is not just about cricket but about giving Baba Ramdev’s FMCG products a global canvas.
Patanjali spokesperson S K Tijarawala confirmed the development, “We are considering this.” Patanjali, in its new avatar, could also be a part of the Union government’s much hyped self-reliance matrix. “This is about Vocal for Local and making an Indian brand global; it makes IPL the right platform,’’ stated Tijarawala.
However, he added that the company is yet to take a final call on the issue.
The BCCI, in all likelihood, will announce the tournament's new title sponsors by August 18. There will be a seven-day window for interested companies to submit the bid. The board has said that the turnover of the interested party must be over RS 300 Crores as per the last audited accounts. The cash-rich Patanjali group, which has an estimated turnover of around Rs 10,500 crores, more than qualifies.
The new title sponsor will hold the rights for only a four-and-a-half-month period and the highest bid may not necessarily end up being the winning one, the BCCI stated on Monday. "The Rights are available for the period from August 18, 2020 to December 31, 2020," according to the board.
Interestingly, the BCCI also stated that bidding the highest amount may not fetch the rights for a company if the board is not satisfied with its plans on commercialising its most precious property.
Last week, best friends BCCI and Vivo decided to part ways amid clamour to boycott Chinese products in the wake of the Sino-India border stand-off.
The title sponsorship is a significant part of the IPL’s commercial revenue, half of which is shared equally by the franchises.
Vivo had won the IPL title sponsorship rights for five years from 2018 to 2022 for a reported sum of Rs 2,190 crore, approximately Rs 440 crore per annum.
Patanjali Ayurved had reported a revenue of Rs 8,329 crore in FY 2018-19. It had also acquired debt-ridden Ruchi Soya in a corporate insolvency resolution process for around Rs 4,350 crore after competing with the Adani Group.
Meanwhile, IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel has indicated that many companies have evinced interest in becoming IPL sponsors. Initially, there were pangs of anxiety and BCCI was not sure about finding Vivo’s replacement at a short notice. The move to jettison Vivo came after the BCCI and the IPL Governing Council were both criticised for retaining it as the title sponsor amid the raging anti-China sentiment.