The premier Kabaddi competition’s 2020 edition has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese mobile manufacturer, Vivo have walked out of two more mega sponsorship deals in- Pro Kabaddi League(PKL) and reality show named ‘Big Boss.’ This news was expected after the company decided to step down from the Indian Premier League sponsorship just ahead of the 2020 edition parting ways with the cricket board. 

Vivo made some heavy investments on these shows and it is understood that the Chinese mobile manufacturers’ deal with PKL was worth around 60 crores per year. 

“Vivo has decided to lie low amid all the negative publicity the brand was generating since the India–China clash on the border. The company has decided to pull out of all the major deals, at least for this year, and will focus on selling products via more retail discount and commissions,” said a person directly involved with the deal to Economic Times.

In 2017, Vivo signed a five-year deal to be the chief sponsors of the Pro Kabaddi League, a total deal worth Rs. 300 crores. The 2020 edition of the PKL was cancelled after the coronavirus pandemic and now sources close to the development have told Star India that Vivo has decided to terminate the deal. With title sponsors Vivo gone, it will be a daunting task for the league to find a new sponsor as early as possible. 

However finding a replacement for Vivo is not the only headache for Mashal sports, owners of the PKL. The PKL franchises are very much against preferential treatment from Star India and want the league’s media rights to be auctioned for the coming editions. Therefore, Star India, who themselves own majority stakes in Mashal sports and have had a very vital influence in growing the PKL brand over the years, may not have the free media access in the coming years. 

The franchise owners want the league media rights to be auctioned properly and alongside Star, there should be other broadcasters like Sony Pictures Network and Jio Network who will have a clear shot at the cherry. According to the owners, this will be beneficial for the league to understand the worth of the media rights which they feel is undervalued at the moment. 

“Mashal’s ownership by Star India is a complete conflict of interest. In a recent meeting, we have cleared to Mashal that we can’t accept revenue share arrangements by Star. PKL is a very valuable media property and we all have invested into it. Star can’t enjoy the entire benefits. We have asked Mashal to opt for open auctions. Let us discover the best possible values and platform for the rights of PKL”, said one of the franchise owner to InsideSport. 

Now it remains to be seen who becomes the title sponsor of the PKL and whether the auction for the media rights take place or not. 

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