BCCI TREASURER Anirudh Chaudhry tells Bharat Sundaresan about what Star’s massive bid for IPL rights means for the league and the sport. Excerpts from the interview:
What does this figure mean to the BCCI and the IPL?
The valuation you see today is a testimony to the IPL as a brand and a tournament. The franchises too as they had taken a leap of faith to be part of this journey. Not to forget the players and the Indian cricket fans who really make the tournament. Over the last eight months to a year, we’ve heard a lot about certain individuals trying to undermine the contribution of what India and the Indian team brings to world events. The IPL rights value debunk the theory propounded by them and actually lends credence to the fact that Indian cricket is responsible to a great degree for all the revenue that comes into the ICC. And that the value of the Indian team wasn’t a mirage but a reality.
So how does this money get distributed?
It’s not like it goes completely into the BCCI’s coffers. The broadcast revenue is shared between the BCCI and the franchises. Within the BCCI, it’s shared at a 70-30 basis between state associations and the board itself. Earlier, the franchises were paying a franchise fee. After 10 years, that’s not there. So what happens now is actually 50-50 in terms of the broadcast revenue. But they have to pay BCCI 20 per cent of their revenues. 20 per cent of 50 is 10 per cent, so that’s how it becomes 60 to us and 40 to them. This is leaving all the taxes aside.
There is a geniune fear of Star monopolising Indian cricket.
It’s my personal view that this theory is not based on strong fundamentals. Today’s process was very transparent. It was a very competitive bidding process. Star won by only a difference of 3 per cent. Currently, they also hold the rights for the bilateral series. BCCI had even allowed consortiums and the opportunity for two or three parties coming together with a bid that might be above their weight category. Star had a great strategy of going for the whole hog. I cannot fathom a situation where one would be ready to give the rights to an organisation that may not give the highest value but because it’s an organisation that doesn’t hold one part of the rights. In six months when the rights for the bilaterals across all three formats and domestic cricket comes up, if there’s any company who feels that they should break what they’re terming as Star’s monopoly, they are free to compete aggressively.
Can this massive amount for IPL rights negatively impact what the board may get for their bilateral rights?
It’s a real debate. It’s the BCCI’s responsibility to ensure that there’s parity in this debate. There are die-hard fans of the pure form of cricket and bilateral cricket. The Indian cricket fans change gears through the year from bilateral cricket to IPL. Supporting the Indian team is part of your constitution. I’m confident that the value for bilaterals will also see an escalation.