The Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) season this year seems to be jinxed. The IPL 2020 which is currently ‘indefinitely suspended’ is already struggling to put the season together because of the Covid19 crisis. Now the mandarins in the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) has another issue at their hands. As the India-China border skirmishes are growing by the day, calls to ‘ban and boycott Chinese products’ is also growing louder. Under such environment, IPL’S deal with VIVO as title sponsor is also under the lens. One of the BCCI official has informed InsideSport that the board is getting concerned about these growing voices against the Chinese products.
“Yes we are concerned, we are also planning to discuss this soon. We will go as per the government’s directive. If government passes any directive against the Chinese companies, we will abide by the same”, said the BCCI source on the condition of anonymity.
IPL’s title sponsorship deal with VIVO worth 440 crore per year
BCCI has 2,199 crore, 5 year deal with Chinese handset maker VIVO for the title sponsorship of IPL. The deal is in its 3rd year and VIVO pays 440 Cr per season. Now the association with the Chinese brand is being questioned from various quarters. Ladakh-based engineer Sonam Wangchuk, who was the inspiration behind Aamir Khan’s character in the 2009 film 3 Idiots was the first to call for the boycott of Chinese products. He had started the slogans: ‘Boycott China’, ‘Boycott Made in China’, ‘Anywhere but China’ which is now finding an echo all across the country including some of the top cricket starts joining the chorus.
Chennai Super Kings spinner Harbhajan Singh also has called for ban on the Chinese products, ‘Ban all Chinese products’ – Harbhajan Singh reacts as 20 soldiers attain martyrdom in face-off with China’, said Bhajji.
Already Indian Railways has terminated contracts with a Chinese engineering major and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has conveyed to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) not to use Chinese-made equipment in its up-gradation, top sources in both sectors said on Thursday.
BCCI has other Chinese connect too
It is not the only Chinese connect BCCI has on board. Some of the other board sponsors like PayTM (Title Sponsor of Indian Cricket), DreamXI (Associate Sponsor) has Chinese investors on board.
Other than this Indian team captain Virat Kohli also has a Chinese connect. Kohli is the brand ambassador of Chinese smartphone company iQOO.
Harish Bijoor, brand strategy specialist and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. said that BCCI and stars will get under pressure from their followers who would wish them to stop endorsing Chinese brands.
“We live in the era of social media and therefore a hashtag boycott of a celebrity because he or she endorses a Chinese brand is a possibility. If consumers start getting upset to see their Bollywood stars plugging a China made brand then the equity of the star will also be lost,” he noted.