Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate with a myriad of subsidiaries in multiple sectors, has replaced Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo as title sponsor of the 2022 Indian Premier League, the country’s top-tier domestic Twenty20 cricket competition.

The IPL governing council told the 10 member franchises earlier today that Tata would be replacing Vivo (which only returned to its major role last season) and, according to reports, that the group would be in place as title partner for the next two seasons – 2022 (expected to start in mid-March) and 2023.

Brijesh Patel, the IPL’s chairman, is reported as saying: “Vivo has exited and the Tatas will be title sponsors."

While the main Tata group has not sponsored the IPL before, its Tata Motors and Tata Consultancy Services subsidiaries have previously partnered with the league itself and with the Rajasthan Royals franchise.

Vivo initially became the IPL’s title partner in 2015, and then struck a five-year extension, for $341 million, in 2017.

However, in 2020, that deal was terminated after threats of a fan boycott due to a significant deterioration of relationships between India and China on a political level and troops clashing on the border between the two countries.

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Subsequently, fantasy gaming company Dream11 was brought in as title partner for that campaign.

Tata was initially reported at that point as having bid for title rights, only for Dream11 to trump its offer.

It has now been reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), decided to hand back title sponsorship rights for 2021 only to Vivo as a one-year concession after the year out in 2020.

The BCCI’s official line last year, when it brought Vivo back into the fold, was that the deal would run up until 2023.

However,  it now appears that this was never intended to be the case, with Tata having taken over the remaining two years of that same deal.

Indeed, it has been reported by the Times of India that the intention was always for Vivo itself to help the BCCI find a replacement partner in the gap between the 2021 and 2022 editions.

Jay Shah, secretary of the BCCI, has now said: “This is indeed a momentous occasion for the BCCI IPL as the Tata Group is the epitome of global Indian enterprise …

"The BCCI like the Tata Group is keen to promote the spirit of cricket across international borders and the growing popularity of the IPL as a global sporting franchise bears testimony to the BCCI's efforts. We are truly happy that India's largest and most trusted business groups has believed in the IPL growth story.”

Vivo replaced PepsiCo, the soft drinks giant, as the title sponsor of the tournament in 2015.

Under Vivo’s initial title sponsorship deal, each of the eight franchises was receiving $2.7 million from the arrangement per year. In total, the teams receive 50% of the title sponsorship payments.

Last week, My11Circle, another Indian fantasy sports platform, secured title sponsorship rights for the Lucknow-based franchise that will make its IPL debut this year.

The platform, which alongside Tata launched an unsuccessful bid to become the IPL’s overall title partner for 2020, has struck the title sponsorship deal with the RP Sanjeev Goenka Group (RPSG), the Indian corporation which owns the Lucknow team.

The team is as yet largely non-existent, with no name and no players, but will join the IPL after securing an expansion slot at an auction in October last year.

The deal is set to be worth Rs27 crore ($3.6 million) in total over the next three seasons – up until the end of the 2024 campaign – and will involve the My11Circle logo featuring in a prominent position on the front of the players’ matchday shirts.

The IPL is set to expand to 10 sides in 2022, for the first time since 2011, with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners having bought the other expansion slot on offer, for an Ahmedabad franchise, at the same October auction.

The tournament's mega-auction, at which franchises will bid for the majority of their playing squads for the upcoming season, will take place in mid-February.

The BCCI is also expected to release a media rights tender for the 2023-27 broadcast cycle of the IPL in the next few months.

It has been reported that the BCCI is likely to set the current value of the rights – $510 million annually – as the base price for the next five years of the prestigious annual tournament, but no final decision has yet been made.

The rights will be sold via a virtual auction, as mandated by India’s Supreme Court in 2017, and will be for five seasons, between 2023 and 2027 (inclusive). The BCCI had initially considered a three-year cycle but then decided to stick to the longer stretch.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, it was reported that the BCCI is considering staging the entire 2022 IPL in the state of Maharashtra, and specifically in the cities of Mumbai and Pune, due to rapidly rising Covid-19 cases around the country, it has been reported.

According to the Times of India, the BCCI is considering hosting the whole prestigious 10-team tournament across two stadiums in Mumbai and one in Pune (the two biggest cities in Maharashtra).

The 2022 IPL is expected to take place between mid-March and late May, and the report quotes a source as saying that productive conversations between the BCCI and the Mumbai Cricket Association have already taken place.

On Saturday (January 8), India recorded 141,986 Covid-19 cases, as the new Omicron variant – more transmissible than previous strains – continues to wreak havoc.

Because of earlier Covid waves and infection surges, both the 2020 and the second half of the 2021 IPL had to be held in the United Arab Emirates, with severe restrictions on spectators’ presence.