IPL media rights bid amount as per expectations, says Jay Shah

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah told ET that the separation of TV and digital rights for Indian Premier League (IPL) was a key development and that the auctions that concluded on June 14 had made it the world’s second-biggest sporting league. The five-year media rights value jumped almost threefold to ₹48,390 crore, vindicating a reserve price that had been characterised by some as aggressive.

“We expected the IPL rights to fetch anything between ₹45,000-50,000 crore,” he said in an interview. “But what is more important is that now we have two separate winners for the TV rights and digital rights, which is a first in the history of the league. Also, IPL is the second-largest league now with $15.5 million per match in media rights.”

Only the National Football League (NFL), a professional American football league, has a higher per-match value than IPL at $17 million. Other major sporting leagues, the English Premier League (EPL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) both have $11 million per-match value. However, the NFL hosts 272 matches per season,

does 380 and MLB 162, compared with 74 matches in the IPL.

When asked about the aggressive reserve price, Shah said the BCCI had full faith in the pricing and it was based on the response the board had received from the market.

“There are two new teams, who have come with an investment of $1.9 billion,” he said. “We sold all partner slots for IPL last season and opened new categories. There is tremendous interest. Also, the number of matches went up from 300 to 410 (over five years) in the current cycle.”

To Strengthen Domestic Cricket

DisneyStar won linear TV rights for the Indian subcontinent and Viacom18 got the digital rights.

On the decision to unbundle the rights and the introduction of a non-exclusive digital pack, he said his job was to protect the board’s interest.

“Our process ensured maximum value, and price discovery. If you look at TV rights, it closed at Rs 57.5 crore per match, compared to reserve price of Rs 49 crore per match, while digital went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 50 crore. And the value of package C more than doubled to Rs 33.24 crore, from Rs 16 crore base price,” he said. “This is also the first time when digital rights are gone for a higher amount.”

Shah said that with the money, the board can do much more for the betterment of cricket and cricketers.

“We have already announced around a 100% increase in the monthly pension of former cricketers-both men and women–and match officials. This will benefit around 900 personnel,” he said. “We have also recently sanctioned Rs 60 crore for development of indoor practice facilities in the Northeast. We will open multiple centres with pitches with bowling machines, besides gym and a swimming pool.”

Furthermore, the BCCI plans to use the proceeds of the auction to strengthen domestic cricket from the grassroots, develop infrastructure and spruce up facilities across India besides enriching the cricket-watching experience.

The BCCI also has big plans for a women’s IPL.

“This is something very close to my heart. We will be launching the Women’s IPL in 2023 with five-six new teams. We will go to market with a fresh tender very soon and everyone will have an opportunity to pick teams,” he said.

The board is hopeful of getting international women players for the league.

“We have also revamped the women’s under-16 and under-19 programmes and we are sure of getting a good chunk of talent from there,” Shah said.

The BCCI is also in talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other international boards to get a larger window for the IPL, he said.

“We have been in conversation with the ICC and other international boards to get a larger window,” Shah said. “Having said that, we have to also look at the growth of world cricket too, which is why the Indian team will be visiting Ireland before England next.”

Shah said that there is a great deal of interest in media rights for bilateral ties in India

“You can see the packed stadiums in the ongoing matches. While in IPL you see marquee players divided into 10 teams, here all of them are in one team,” said Shah. “I am 100% sure of selling the rights of the India cricket too for a much higher value. We will start the process soon, and will do it in a similar way, with great transparency.”

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