By the time the first day of e-auction for IPL’s media rights for the next five-year cycle (2023-27) concluded on Sunday, it was clear BCCI was in for one of the biggest media rights bonanzas in the world of sports.
The day saw the cricket board pocket Rs 43,050 crore (around $5. 5 billion)-a Rs 26,050-crore ($3. 3 billion) hike from the previous rights cycle-taking IPL’s per match value at over Rs 104 crore ($13. 4 million) past English Premier League’s corresponding figure of $11 million.
Thus, IPL is now only the second after the US’s NFL ($17 million) in terms of per match value; it is already ahead of other top leagues in the world like NBA and MLB. Day Two of the e-auction is set to throw up bigger numbers.
‘Insane bidding’ gives IPL more financial muscle
The much-anticipated bidding for the rights began at 11 am on Sunday with four of the seven bidders in the fray – the Viacom-led JV, Disney+Hotstar, Culver Max Entertainment (earlier, Sony Pictures) and the Zee Group – jumping into the process right away for Packages A & B.
Package A is for India’s television rights alone, with the base price set at Rs 49 crore. Package B is for India’s digital rights with the base price set at Rs 33 crore.
By the time the first day was over and the process was called off for Sunday at 6 pm, Package A rose from Rs 49 crore to Rs 57 crore and Package B went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 48 crore.
What this now means is the per-match cost so far at which these rights are being sold – Package A + B – stands at Rs 104 crore. That’s a Rs 49.5 crore per match jump from the 2018-22 rights cycle when Star India had made a successful bid for each IPL game at Rs 54.5 crore.
Star had paid close to Rs 17,000 crore (14 extra matches in 2022 included) to bag the rights in the previous auction, which was a closed one.
The present e-auction, which is likely to see the bulk of the action on Day Two, has already fetched the IPL Rs 23,370 crore for India television and Rs 19,680 crore for India digital. That concludes that BCCI has already bagged Rs 43,050 from Day One of the e-auction and what’s at play here already makes the cricket board believe the total sum, by the time this process completes, could well go past the Rs 55,000 crore mark and possibly even touch Rs 60,000 crore. After Packages A & B get sold – and it is still possible that two separate parties can walk away with TV and digital, alongside the possibility of one single party walking away with both – Packages C & D will come into play.
Package C includes a set of 18 non-exclusive matches – including the four playoffs and weekend evening matches on the day of double-headers – and Package D is Rest of the World.
Alongside the four contenders mentioned above competing for Packages A & B, South Africa’s SuperSport (for the sub-Saharan region), Times Internet (for US) and FunAsia for UAE will be competing for Package D.
Package C could find entries from any company that fails to win Package B and may want to try its hand at the non-exclusive set. The point to note here is winner of Package A can challenge Package B and winner of Package B can challenge Package C.
The BCCI, on Sunday evening, did not make any official announcements and all the bidders stayed away from interacting with the media, even off the record, considering there’s a heavy day of bidding approaching on Monday.
However, sources say: “This kind of bidding appears insane. Doesn’t make any sense to the outsider. Only those bidding with a price-discovery POV might be able to explain how they intend to monetise this.
“And that said, we’re nowhere close to the end of this. Day Two may see the battle for Packages A & B continue. By the time Package C comes up for sale, this might go crazier than we’re thinking.”