Kolkata: The Indian Premier League (IPL) once again proved to be immune to the market forces as the Indian cricket board are set to hit paydirt in the e-auction for the media rights for next five-year cycle between 2023-2027. The highest bids attracted for the TV rights for the Indian sub-continent is Rs 57.5 crore per match (US $ 7.37 million) while the one for the digital rights is Rs 48 crore (US$ 6.15 million approx), according to reports emerging during the day.
This effectively pegs the value of each match in the region of Rs 105.5 crores ($ US 13.52m), putting the valuation of each game at par with global products like NFL in American football and English Premier League. This figure can again see a rise as the BCCI has split the auction into four packages - while the TV and media rights for the sub-continent form packages A and B, respectively, packages C & D have been thrown open for non-exclusive rights of 18 selected matches in a season and global TV rights, respectively.
The bids for packages C & D were in progress throughout the latter half of Tuesday and informed sources say they would again resume on Wednesday - with some more drama in store.
Disney, Sony and India’s Reliance (Viacom) were in contention for the media rights after Amazon pulled out at the eleventh hour before the e-auction began on Sunday and continued throughout Monday. Sources have confirmed that the deal is for a total of 410 matches over a five-year period.
Star India were the current holders of the IPL rights for 2017-22 cycle with a winning bid of Rs 16,347.50 crore for both TV and digital in September 2017.
Sony Pictures Network won the IPL TV media rights for a period of 10 years during the inception of the tournament in 2008 with a bid of Rs 8200 crore, hence making it a more than five-fold increase in the valuation of the product by the time 16th season of the league begins next year.
The biggest bid for the IPL’s TV rights was 17.3% higher than the base price of Rs 49 crore (US$ 6.3 million approx.) the IPL had set for Package A. The corresponding bid for digital rights saw a massive jump of 45.4% over the base price of Rs 33 crore (US$ 4.2 million approx.). The combined figure is also 94.5% higher than the Rs 54.23 crore (US$ 8.47 million approx at the time), which was the per-match value in the previous IPL rights deal for 2018-22.
More drama in store?
According to the auction rules, the IPL will give the Package A winner automatic rights to compete for Package B by locking horns with the highest bidder in the digital rights category. If the highest bidders for Packages A and B are different, the above figure for the highest bid for Package B could be revised, if the winner of Package A chooses to make an incremental bid.
There are no prizes for guessing that the addition of two teams from 2022 season, along with 14 extra matches had been a telling factor behind such a exponential rise in valuation. ‘‘The IPL had already been the biggest franchise cricket league in the world but with new franchises coming in from this year, it is going to open up newer markets in western India (Gujarat) as well as the Hindi-speaking heartland (Lucknow). You can make out with the quantum leap in valuation of teams and the kind of global bidders who had thrown their hats in the ring - from promoters of Formula One to owners of Premiership clubs. Be ready for more surprises when the media rights come up for renewal,’’ Ness Wadia, co-owner of Punjab Kings, told Gulf News at the start of the start of the season.