After securing over R 12,700 crore from the two new IPL teams last year, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is eyeing big money from the media rights sale of the league for the next five years (2023-27).
BCCI will be floating a tender next month, expecting to create a record in the cricket rights acquisition market. Indications are that e-auction — a process successfully employed by the board while awarding media rights (2018-23) to Star India— would be used to decide the winner.
The board has received inputs from financial advisory consultants KPMG explaining the pros and cons of closed bidding as well as e-auction. "They have given us an understanding of both the options. But we feel e-auction could prove to be more beneficial and fully transparent. We will soon be looking at all the permutations and combinations before going ahead," said a BCCI insider on condition of anonymity.
For the new teams, the board had organised closed bidding. While RPSG Group's winning bid of R 7090 crore was comfortably more than CVC Capitals's next best bid of R 5625 crore, at internal discussions officials have said that had it been an e-auction, the Adanis and Glazers' could have bid more. "That's what can happen in open competitive bidding. Also, the numbers are in front of everyone. So, there is complete transparency," the source said.
According to reports, Adanis had bid approximately R 5100 crore and the Glazers ₹4023 crore.
During the e-auction of BCCI's bilateral rights in 2018, Star India won following an intense round of bidding over three-days, leaving behind Sony and Reliance Jio. Trade pundits say e-auction works best when there are several serious players in the running. When Star won the IPL rights in 2017 by making a consolidated winning bid (TV + digital), Sony was the only other linear competitor they had to beat, and digital space was yet to mature. This time, with more matches and a bigger playing window, BCCI is expecting a number of digital players, Indian and international, willing to pay top dollar.
Google and Facebook have expressed interest in cricket in the past. Amazon Prime has recently acquired New Zealand Cricket's rights. IPL remains a massive pull for Hotstar. Reliance Jio is waiting to take the big leap. In the TV rights space Star, Reliance and Sony-Zee, following their merger, will make it a triangular contest.
The losing parties will still have ICC rights to fall back on. But no cricket property quite sells like IPL.. The 16,347 crore, BCCI got for a 60-match IPL in 2017 now look conservative. The Indian board is counting something in the range of R 35,000 crore for its 74-match league, with the promise of reverting to a home-and-away system by creating an even bigger playing window in the future.
Half the value of media rights proceeds that form a part of the IPL central revenue pool is distributed among franchises. A leading official from one of the two new franchises to enter the IPL recently said, "We are in this business for perpetuity. And are fully confident, the media rights valuations over the next ten years will justify our investment."
IPL RIGHTS OVER THE YEARS
2008-17 SONY R 8200 CR
2018-22 STAR R 16,347.5 CR