On being asked whether the withdrawal of PepsiCo as sponsor will affect the tournament, IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla said: “The title deal with Pepsi is not that big an issue. They have certain points and we will settle them. They have been a very good partner all this while and we do not want to disturb our relationship with them.” Chinese smartphone maker, Vivo, will replace the cola giant as IPL title sponsor.
Pepsi has been title sponsors since 2013, and off late, had been complaining about the negative perception around the game, but nothing changed. PepsiCo took over as the title sponsor from DLF in 2013 after a Rs 396.8 crore bid. In IPL season 2013, Ankit Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Sreesanth were arrested over charges of spot-fixing, resulting in the accusations that Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings team principal, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, were involved in betting.
PepsiCo had sent a notice to the BCCI expressing its intention to withdraw from the IPL as title sponsor because of the controversy surrounding the spot-fixing case. Sources said the company has said in its notice that the decision was related to issues that have brought the game into disrepute.
The decision was sealed after the Lodha Committee recommended the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals!
Instead of nonchalantly replacing Pepsi with Vivo, the BCCI should have apologized to Pepsi for its premature exit from the contract that was supposed to have run till 2017. It was because of BCCI’s inability to remove corruption that Pepsi closed its deal… Vivo is one of the fastest growing mobile companies in India, quite capable of sponsoring a mega event like the IPL, but that’s not the issue…The withdrawal is a poor reflection on the systematic corruption that plagues the Board, and some players.
Given that there is a struggle between the new Chinese smartphone brands for both visibility and supremacy in the most lucrative smartphone market in the world, it would make sense for Vivo to invest in a big deal like the IPL for an advantage. Also, most of these companies are facing the heat in China from Apple and hence need to become a big player in India at the earliest to keep up the volumes.