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BCCI seeks IPL title sponsor; bars fantasy gaming, illegal betting firms from bidding

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Soon after the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 auction concluded, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now seeking a title sponsor for its prestigious franchise T20 tournament. Notably, the apex cricket body is not seeking sponsorship from fantasy gaming companies and gambling and betting brands.

This is the first time that fantasy gaming companies have been barred from bidding. Earlier in June, when the BCCI was seeking a jersey sponsor for the national teams it had decided to disallow real money gaming (RMG) brands only, and not fantasy sports ones.

The reserve price for the rights is Rs 360 crore per year, with the BCCI looking for a five-year-long sponsorship until 2028, reported Cricbuzz. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) document will be available till January 8. Meanwhile, the Tata Group had held the rights until the end of the IPL 2023 season.

As per ITT document, the bidders should not engage in betting or gambling services as well, domestic or international. Along with this, they should also not be the one providing betting or gambling services or have investments in the said firms.

This not only extends to betting and gambling brands’ bids per se, but also to the bids submitted by their surrogate brands. It is one of the most common methods used by illegal betting and gambling services to gain sponsorship for sports events.

When it comes to why fantasy gaming brands have been disallowed from bidding there is no clear reasoning provided by the BCCI. A possible reason could be the ongoing GST-related issues that the online gaming companies are going through with even their legality being questioned.

Another possible reason could be that the BCCI does not want a competitor brand to Dream11 as part of its bouquet of sponsors. Incidentally, the BCCI has been receiving backlash today regarding the sponsorship from Dream11 after their jersey features the Dream11 logo prominently in front of the jersey.

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