Star India edged out Sony Pictures to secure the Indian Premier League’s media rights with a bid of Rs 16,347.50 crore on Monday. The bidding for various media rights of the cash-rich league was held in Mumbai for a five-year period from 2018-2022.
The rights on offer were Indian sub-continental TV rights, which is the most coveted along with emerging Indian sub-continent digital rights.
With this deal, the cost of an IPL match has become more than an average Team India game, as the former would be tagged at around Rs. 55 crore, as opposed to an India game, which brings in about Rs. 43 crore, making an IPL match the hottest property in Indian cricket from 2018 onwards.
Earlier, each IPL game had the value of around Rs. 15 crore, which will now spike by three-and-a-half times to Rs 15 crore. There were also rest of the world media rights on offer which includes key international markets like the Middle East, Africa, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2008, Sony Pictures Network won the IPL media rights for a period of 10 years with a bid of Rs 8200 crore. The global digital rights of IPL for a period of three years was awarded to Novi Digital in 2015 for 302.2 crore.
“India, cricket and IPL have changed dramatically since its inception (in 2008) and this bid is a reflection of that,” Star CEO Uday Shankar told reporters.
Interestingly, rival Sony’s individual bid for broadcast (TV rights) this time was Rs 11,050 crore compared to Star’s Rs 6,196 crore.
However, as per rule, the companies could form a consortium and if its consolidated global bid happened to be greater than the sum total parts of every individual bid they stand to win the rights.
Accordingly, the sum total of other bids, excluding Star consortium, was Rs 15,819.51 crore which is at least Rs 500 crore less than Star India’s consolidated bid. It is expected that Star India’s digital vertical HotStar would be used for live streaming of IPL matches in India. Shankar admitted that they might not have won the bid had the amount been slightly lesser.
“Even if it was slightly less, we would not have got the rights. In every category, it was so competitive,” Shankar added.
The BCCI has been embroiled in a pool of controversies having not implemented the Lodha Reforms and its current office-bearers are facing the wrath of the country’s apex court.
But Shankar said that popularity of the game is such that watching cricket still is the favourite pastime of the Indians.
“Despite the off-field issues of BCCI, watching a cricket match in India remains an amazing experience,” Shankar said. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, on his part, said: “Our main endeavour to the stakeholders was to provide a transparent process where there should not be any iota of doubt,” he said.
The IPL bid however, if seen on the world level, still has a way to go. The National Football League (NFL) in the US has a budget of US dollars 6 billion per year, while Premier League football in England is marked around the US dollar 5 million mark during the same time frame.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US has a price tag of US dollar 2.66 billion per annum. The American Major League Baseball (MLB) is around US dollars 1.55 billion.
The IPL, which was sold for around US dollars 2.55 billion, would be around the 500-million mark every year.