Dream11: The ‘Indian’ Title Sponsor of IPL 2020 Backed by Tencent
“Only a single-digit percentage minority stake is held by Tencent,” a BCCI source told PTI.
Dream11, an India-based fantasy gaming platform, has acquired title sponsorship of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) including the next two seasons.
Its winning bid was Rs 222 crore for the first year, Rs 240 crore for the second year and Rs 240 crore for the third year, making an average of Rs 234 crore per year, reports TOI.
Co-founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2012, Dream11 has grown rapidly as a multi-sport fantasy gaming platform, with currently more than 80 million users on their platform.
According to the 2019 IFSG - KPMG report, fantasy cricket is the most widely played online fantasy sports game.
In April 2019, it became the first Indian gaming company to enter the ‘Unicorn Club’, a group of privately-held consumer and technology ventures that are valued at $1 billion or more.
Dream11 has had a longstanding cricket connection with some of its brand ambassadors being top cricketers such as former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma.
It has also managed to rope in international cricket stars like England’s Ben Stokes and West Indian power-hitter Andre Russell.
Not only cricket, Dream11 is actively associated with multiple sports across the globe including football and basketball.
Previous brand ambassadors include commentator Harsha Bhogle. As part of its 2019 campaign, Dream11 signed up seven cricketers and partnered with seven teams, as part of its multi-channel marketing deal.
BCCI needed a new title sponsor for the tournament this year, after its original title sponsor, Vivo, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, had its contract suspended following a public backlash against Chinese companies amid the ongoing Sino-Indian border dispute.
Vivo was paying BCCI a sum of 440 crores annually for a 5-year deal which it had bagged in 2017 by bidding 2,199 crores.
However, Dream11 is also backed by investments from the Chinese internet giant Tencent. As a rebuttal, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is stressing on the "Indianness" of the company.
“Dream11 stakeholders, including its founders plus all 400 plus employees, are Indian. Their Indian investors are Kalaari Capital and Multiples Equity. Even Dream11’s product is available exclusively for use only by Indians. Only a single-digit percentage minority stake is held by Tencent,” a BCCI source told PTI.
It was in 2019 that Dream11 was announced as the official fantasy game partner for the IPL thereby deepening its engagement with the tournament.
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