THE BCCI is all set to earn around Rs 55 crore from every IPL match as compared to the Rs 43 crore they earn per international match that Virat Kohli & Co play. The Indian cricket board will also earn Rs 23.3 lakh from every ball bowled in the IPL. That is based on Star Sports’ whopping new deal worth Rs 16,347.5 crore or $2.55 billion for IPL media rights over the next five years till 2022.
That leaves the IPL sandwiched between the English Premier League (Rs 84 crore per match) and the NBA (Rs 18 crore per match) in terms of highest grossing sporting leagues in the world, with the NFL the clear leader earning Rs 150 crore per match.
Sony had bought the IPL media rights for $1.63 billion (around Rs 10,436 crore) for a nine-year period from World Sports Group in 2009. It comes to Rs 1,160 crore per year. The Star deal means a 182 per cent hike for the BCCI, or nearly three times the previous amount.
By winning the media rights for the decade-old T20 extravaganza with their consolidated bid covering all seven categories on Monday, Star have also finally established a nearly complete monopoly over broadcasting Indian cricket. They already own the broadcast rights to domestic and international cricket in India and when the national team travels to England, Australia and Bangladesh. With the IPL now in their grasp, Star now stands to broadcast nearly 76 per cent of all matches that involve Indian cricketers annually. That does not even include ICC events that Star own broadcast rights for, including World Cups, Champions Trophy events, World T20s, the under-19 World Cups as well as the Asia Cup.
The bidding itself wasn’t as one-sided an affair as it might seem to have been. The BCCI had laid down seven categories which included television rights in India and digital rights, which had originally been owned by Star since 2015. There were also overseas rights up for grabs in regions including USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the rest of the world. Star were nowhere close to having the highest individual bids in each category. Sony, who were the incumbent rights holders, were clearly in front as they bid Rs 11,050 crore as compared to Star’s Rs 6196.94 crore.
The two media giants were the only two eligible bidders for Indian television rights.
Social media giants Facebook had the highest bid of Rs 3,900 crore as far as digital rights were concerned. Followon, Bein, Supersport and Perform had the highest bids for Australia/New Zealand/Rest of the World, Middle East, South Africa and USA respectively. Star, incidentally, bid the most for the UK region with Rs 48.75 crore. They were, however, the only ones to post a global bid with all rights incorporated in it. And the sum of the individual highest bids of Rs 15,819.51 crore still fell nearly a 1,000 crore short of Star’s consolidated amount of Rs 16,347.5 crore. In other words, if cumulatively any of the other bidders had tallied Rs 1,000 crore more, Sony would have won the broadcast rights with Facebook becoming the official digital platform for the IPL.
“Even if it was slightly less, we would not have got the rights. That should tell you this is the right figure. When one person or one company bids very highly, you can ask that question. But in every category, it has been so competitive. There are three digital rights that have gone for more than 3,000 crores. Digital did not even exist 10 years ago. In television, it was very aggressively tendered too, and equally for rest of the world,” said Star CEO Uday Shankar. While they are the IPL’s sole media rights holders for the next five years, Star’s five-year rights over all cricket on Indian soil ends on March 30, 2018 following which the BCCI will hold a fresh auction. And Shankar wasn’t keen on revealing his cards six months out.
“You have seen how fierce and competitive the BCCI cricket rights are. If this is where we are with the IPL rights, then you can imagine the level of competitiveness that can happen in the next set of rights. It would be foolhardy on my part to make any comment on that. We have a lot of cricket now between the IPL and ICC events and I think we can run a very good business with that,” he said.