Politics will always find a way into the sporting landscape, which can lead to some tricky situations for rights holders. The IPL and Riot Games have both learnt that the hard way in the past week.
According to SportsPro, Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo is set to pull out as the title sponsor of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). The news comes just days after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suggested its sponsorship line-up for the T20 tournament would remain unchanged.
The exit of Vivo as the tournament’s lead sponsor comes amid political tensions between India and China, which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash in Eastern Ladakh on June 15.
Similarly, Riot Games has faced their own political controversy around a recent partnership.The game publisher ended its partnership with NEOM, a Saudi Arabian state-backed city development, less than 24 hours after announcing it due to the backlash it received from the League of Legends community. As a result, it has now announced it will establish a global deals council and an ethics committee of its own.
Speaking to The Drum back in 2017, Omar Al Raisi, founder of Dantani Inc Sports, said "Brands and sponsors have to be wary of the geopolitical landscape before entering into sponsorship agreements with clubs. It is a tricky subject to deal with-in terms of contractual clauses as these situations are out of the clubs or sports organisations hands."
With the current world political scenario, it is important that both sports brands and sponsors take these factors into consideration and transcend through them - especially when their fans are based all over the world.
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