Cricket’s most lucrative competition reaped a stunning windfall on Tuesday when Secretary of BCCI Jay Shah confirmed that the overall deal to broadcast Indian Premier League matches for the 2023-2027 cycle was sold for Rs 48,390 crore.
Star India, Viacom 18 and Times Internet were the entities to have won different parts of the deal.
“Since its inception, the IPL has been synonymous with growth and today is a red-letter day for India Cricket, with Brand IPL touching a new high with e-auction resulting in INR 48,390 cr value,” Shah tweeted earlier on Tuesday evening, which was the third day of the auction process. “IPL is now the 2nd most valued sporting league in the world in terms of per match value.”
While Star renewed its television deal by acquiring Package A for Rs 23,575 crores, Viacom18 bagged exclusive digital rights in the subcontinent for Rs 23,758 crore and also have rights for Australia, South Africa, UK while Times Internet acquired got MENA and US, who win the rest of the world rights, said Shah.
Star, owned by US behemoth Disney, already held the TV rights from the previous cycle while Viacom18 – a joint venture between Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and US group Paramount Global – picked up the streaming rights, reported AFP.
This year the BCCI capitalised on its audience by splitting media rights into four different packages. Package A was the sole rights on television in the Indian sub-continent, B for digital rights in Indian sub-continent, C for a selection of a few matches per season such as play-offs and weekend primetime slots on digital for Indian subcontinent and D for rest of the world for both TV and digital.
“The BCCI never felt that the base price was too high. You need to understand that in 2018, it was for 60 games. For the next cycle, we will have 410 games, with 74 games each in the first two seasons and then 84 games in the next and finally 94 in the 2027 edition,” Jay Shah told PTI in an interview.
“You also need to check the digital numbers – there were approximately 560 million digital viewers in 2017 and 665 million in 2021. You expect it to grow even more in the coming years.”
In a statement released by the Board, President Sourav Ganguly stated: “The game has never been just about money, it is about talent. The IPL e-auction just showed how strong the game is in our country. The numbers should be the biggest motivation for all the young players to take their ability and Team India to the highest level.”
For its part Disney said in a statement that they didn’t go too hard for digital, with their Hotstar platform set to lose out on IPL after the last cycle.
“We made disciplined bids with a focus on long-term value. We chose not to proceed with the digital rights given the price required to secure that package,” Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, International Content and Operations, The Walt Disney Company said in a statement. “IPL is an important component of our portfolio of television channels in India, providing an incredible opportunity for us to showcase The Walt Disney Company’s powerful global brands and iconic storytelling, as well as Disney Star’s impressive collection of local original content, to millions of viewers in India.”
“We will be exploring other multiplatform cricket rights, including future rights for International Cricket Council (ICC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which we currently hold through the 2023 and 2024 seasons, respectively,” Campbell added in the statement.
“The BCCI will utilize the revenue generated from IPL to strengthen our domestic cricket structure starting from grassroots, to boost infrastructure and spruce up facilities across India and enrich the overall cricket-watching experience,” Shah added in his tweets.
“Now, it’s time for our state associations, IPL Franchises to work together with the IPL to enhance the fan experience and ensure that our biggest stakeholder – ‘the cricket fan’ is well looked after and enjoys high quality cricket in world-class facilities.”
This year, global broadcast giants Disney, Sony and Viacom were in the running, along with local media group Zee and Reliance, India’s biggest conglomerate.
“The IPL has grown big time over the years and it has gone global in terms of its reach for the fans,” the board’s treasurer Arun Dhumal had told AFP on Friday.
Here’s a look at who acquired the rights according to the four agreed categories:
Package A (TV rights only and exclusively for the Indian subcontinent only) - Star India (Disney)
Package B (Digital rights only and exclusively for the Indian subcontinent) - Viacom 18
Package C (Digital rights for a special bouquet of matches including the playoffs and exclusively for the Indian subcontinent) - Viacom 18
Package D (TV and Digital rights for the Rest of the World for two sub-categories: combined ROW or five individual regions) - Viacom 18 and Times Internet
Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on rights for European soccer and American football, had earlier shown interest in the IPL but pulled out of the contest ahead of the auction, reported AFP.
In 2017, Star India had successfully acquired the global media rights, including television and digital, for the next five seasons of the Indian Premier League. Star was the only company which submitted a global consolidated bid of Rs 16,347.50 crore, which turned out to be Rs 528 crore more than the sum of all the highest individual bids for the seven categories of rights being sold – Rs 15,819.51 crore.
Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Networks India had submitted the highest bid for the Indian subcontinent broadcast rights – Rs 11,050 crore. Star India’s bid for this category was Rs 6,196.94 crore, almost Rs 5,000 crore lower than its biggest rival. Facebook had the highest bid for the Indian digital rights – Rs 3,900 crore. Airtel had the second-highest bid in this category – Rs 3,280 crore.
BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said in the statement: “This is our first step towards what we at the BCCI have aimed to achieve in making India a sporting giant and expanding IPL’s base globally and making it the biggest ‘sporting’ league in the world.”
“IPL’s craze and popularity have never ceased to surprise anyone with each playing season. This is a landmark achievement and it will help the League grow not only in stature but also in credibility on the global sporting stage.”