Indian gaming start up,Dream11 have made a three-year winning bid to bag the Indian Premier League (IPL) title rights. The fantasy sports platform – a start-up pioneered by two Indian entrepreneurs – has made a bid for three years, subject to Vivo’s return next year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) needed a new title sponsor for the tournament after Vivo, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, suspended the contract for this year following a public backlash against Chinese companies amid the ongoing border dispute. But Dream11 also has a Chinese connection.
Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is one of the financial backers of Dream11. Last year, it became India’s first gaming start-up to be valued at over $1 billion. And the BCCI is stressing on the fact that Dream11 is an Indian company.
If Dream11 had failed to grab the rights, Byju’s — the second-highest bidder at Rs 201 crore — also have a significant Chinese investment. Another BCCI sponsor, Paytm, also has investment from the neighbouring country.
Tencent also has invested in several Indian internet platforms, including music application Gaana and internet messenger Hike.
Founded in 1998 in Shenzen in China, Tencent specialises in multiple ventures, video games, social media, e-commerce, entertainment, artificial intelligence and payments, to name a few. It is currently the biggest gaming and social media company in China. PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, smartphone games developed by the company in collaboration with original developers of the respective franchises, are already household names in India.
However, the BCCI has said Tencent holds less than 10% in Dream11, which is an Indian company founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth.