The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is expecting a windfall from the media rights deal ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 15. Several networks, such as Sony Sports Network, global giants Disney Star Network, Reliance-Viacom 18 and Amazon among others, are in the fray to grab the IPL Media Rights.
The Indian cricket board will sell the television and digital telecast rights of the IPL for four years — between 2023 and 2027 — through an e-auction likely in the last week of March. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) could be floated before February 10. The e-auction will then be conducted within 45 days of floating the ITT.
Reports suggest the BCCI could earn almost three times the sum it grossed for the 2018-2022 cycle when Star India bought the rights for more than INR 16,347 crore. Before Star India, Sony Pictures Network had held media rights for a decade for a sum of INR 8,200 crore.
While it nearly doubled when Star India took over the media rights in 2018, the BCCI now expects the sum to triple in the 2023-27 cycle. Reports say it could be in the range of INR 40,000 to 45,000 crores.
It is estimated that the windfall from the sale of IPL media rights could be much more than BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s prediction of Rs 35,000 crore.
A top BCCI official was quoted as saying by Inside Sport on Wednesday, “Indian cricket is up for a bumper harvest from the sale of new cycle of IPL Rights. Don’t be surprised if it touches (Rs) 40,000 to 45,000 crore. Let’s wait for the magic to unfold.”
The BCCI could release the IPL media rights tender to coincide with the IPL 2022 mega auction scheduled in Bengaluru on February 12 to 13. Disney Star Network has stated that they are more than keen to bid for the rights for the next cycle.
“Sports business for us is in an investment mode and we won’t shy away from investing heavily. We are going to be bullish on all rights renewals including IPL,” K Madhavan, president of The Walt Disney Co India and Star India told the website.
With several names in the fray, grabbing the media rights could lead to a bidding war. Two more entities, Reliance-Viacom 18 and Amazon, are likely to apply along with Sony Sports Network. Sony too has expanded after its merger with Zee and clinching the IPL property could give a huge boost to the network.
Reliance-Viacom 18 could signal their entry into the big Indian cricket market with an ambitious bid for the IPL media rights, while Amazon Prime have already declared their intention to wholeheartedly go for the IPL rights, having started streaming cricket events. Other big names doing the rounds for digital streaming include Facebook and Google.
The offshoot of the potential windfall is that IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has become the country’s first sports Unicorn with its market cap touching a high of Rs 7,600 crores and its share in the grey market trading in the Rs 210-225 price band.
Two key reasons for the high share value of the India Cements-owned franchise are the addition of two new franchises to the upcoming season at record prices, and the BCCI expecting a financial windfall from the media rights sales.