Power play: Tata Group replaces Vivo as title sponsor of IPL

Ayushi Kar | | | Updated on: Jan 11, 2022
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In an unprecedentedly aggressive brand-building endeavour, Tata Sons has bagged title sponsorship for the Indian Premier League

Tata Group has replaced Chinese mobile maker Vivo as the title sponsor for Indian Premier League for an undisclosed amount.

Vivo had bid ₹2,200 crore for title sponsorship rights from 2018-2022 which means the Chinese company had the rights as the title sponsor for one more year. It’s not clear why the company withdrew ahead of schedule, but Vivo had in 2020 pulled out as IPL sponsor after the Galwan Valley military face-off between India and China. At that time, mobile gaming platform Dream11 had stepped in as title sponsor for a year. Vivo was back in 2021 and could have continued this year as well.

Consumer-oriented shift

Brand experts said that Tata Sons bagging the title sponsorship for the Indian Premier League shows the legacy brand taking an unprecedentedly aggressive brand-building endeavour. Usually considered to be conservative in its brand building, the salt-to-steel major has re-aligned its businesses to become more consumer-focused. With the acquisition of IPL’s title sponsorship, experts believe that Tata will aggressively promote its new-age digital businesses.

Santosh N, Managing Partner at D&P Advisory, believes that bagging title sponsorship is the “next logical step”.

“The Tatas have started re-alignment of their business into the B2C segment, from the acquisition of healthcare platform 1mg to investment in CureFit, along with their presence in traditional consumer products such as automotive and FMCG. It shows that consumer-oriented businesses are taking importance, which is why acquiring title sponsorship to promote its portfolio is the next logical step,” he said.

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According to Ajimon Francis, Managing Director of Brand Finance India, Tata bagging the title sponsorship has been an unprecedented move.

“In our past 15 years of association with Tata, this is the first time that the group has dedicated such a massive sum to brand building. This shows that they are shifting their gears. This development is going to be phenomenal for Tata since according to our assessment, it is the number 1 brand in India.”

Digital offerings

Experts believe that digital businesses, new age businesses, Air India and consumer-related businesses are going to be the key entities of Tata’s portfolio which they will focus on during IPL.

“Tata is likely to be aggressive on showcasing digital offerings,” said Francis.

N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, in his 2022 New Year address also mentioned the group’s intention to focus on digital and health as two of their four main themes for the next year.

Expansive visibility

Bagging the title sponsorship supersedes any branding endeavour according to experts.

“The exposure that the cricketing franchise brings is hard to replicate. IPL gives you visibility pan-India, across the subcontinent, and to all of India’s diaspora. IPL is the fastest way to reach audiences. I expect it to be a 60-day dash for Tata Sons,” Francis said.

Published on January 12, 2022

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