New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Tuesday that fantasy gaming sports platform Dream11 has replaced Vivo as the title sponsor for the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL), which is to be held in the UAE from September to November.
Dream11 was already among the many sponsors of the IPL, and won the title sponsorship rights with a bid of Rs 222 crore for a four-and-a-half-month deal, according to PTI.
Also in the race for title sponsorship were Unacademy, which made a bid of Rs 210 crore, the Tata group, which made a bid of Rs 180 crore, and Byju’s, which made a bid of Rs 125 crore.
The BCCI’s five-year deal signed with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo in 2018 was suspended due to the ongoing tensions between the two countries. Vivo’s commitment of Rs 440 crore per year was nearly double of what Dream11 has bid now — the overall deal signed with the BCCI was worth over Rs 2,000 crore.
It was earlier reported that Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved would bid for title sponsorship.
What is Dream11?
As mentioned above, Dream11 is a fantasy gaming sports platform where people can construct their dream teams and compete in matches for money.
Dream11 was founded in 2008 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sethi, and has over eight crore users today. Its investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples, Tencent Holdings and Steadview Capital Management. Of these, Tencent is a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company that was founded in 1998.
It has Indian cricketers such as the recently-retired M.S. Dhoni, Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R. Ashwin and internationals like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Faf du Plessis as its brand ambassadors.
The game is not just restricted to cricket — fantasy teams can also be constructed for football, basketball and baseball.
In the past, Dream11 has partnered with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Hero Indian Super League (ISL), International Cricket Council (ICC), BCCI, Pro Kabaddi League, and the US’ National Basketball Association (NBA), among many other sporting organisations.
Dream11 became the official IPL fantasy game manager beginning in 2019.
In July 2020, The Indian Express reported that the BCCI’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) had initiated an inquiry against Dream11 after it found links to a fake T20 league.
A match, which was actually held near Mohali in Punjab, was allegedly live-streamed as a match being played in Sri Lanka. In its investigations, the ACU found that the kits used by players had the Dream11 logo and the event was live-streamed on FanCode.
Both Dream11 and FanCode are part of sports tech company Dream Sports.
FanCode itself had filed a formal complaint with the Mumbai Police, and called itself an “aggrieved party”.