The BCCI has put out the tender for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights for the next five years (2023-2027). Star Sports had picked up the composite rights for Rs 16,347 crore five years ago. The speculation has already started about the money BCCI may earn this time. Some have estimated it to touch Rs 50,000 crore — a 300% rise. This is not an exaggeration. There is a logic behind this calculation. To understand it, we need to first understand how the whole process works. An explainer:
What is on offer and how much can the BCCI realistically make from the rights?
What’s on offer is the TV and digital rights of the IPL for the period 2023 to 2027. They include the rights to telecast the IPL in India, and across the world, both on television and across digital platforms.
The BCCI has divided the rights into four different buckets and has assigned a base price for each bucket.
- The most lucrative bucket is the television rights for the IPL in India with the base price of Rs 18,130 crore, calculated on the basis of 74 games each for the next five years. The base price set for each game is Rs 90 crore, which is almost double the existing valuation of the property. The BCCI reserves the right to increase the number of games and in such a scenario, the valuation may be revised pro-rata.
- The second bucket includes the digital rights for the property in India and the base price is set at Rs 12,200 crore. The high valuation of digital rights is indicative of the growing popularity of digital mediums and how people’s consumption patterns are fast undergoing a change.
- The third bucket contains the rights for 18 games, including the opener and the four Play-off matches. This is applicable only to streaming services with one single platform given the option of picking up this bundle. This is a new addition, and as BCCI Secretary Jay Shah tweeted on March 29, 2022, it is an attempt “not only be revenue maximisation but also value maximisation”. The base price for this bucket has been set at Rs 1,440 crore.
- The fourth bundle is the overseas TV and digital rights, which is expected to fetch the BCCI a minimum of Rs 1,100 crore.
An informed estimate based on past practices suggests that the BCCI should get at least 1.3-1.5 times the base price, which in this case amounts to a total of Rs 45,000-50,000 crore.
Can someone put in a composite bid for the rights in the manner that Star Sports had done in the last cycle?
No. Composite bids have been done away with and no company can put in a composite bid any longer. While a company can indeed put in bids for all the buckets, each of these bids will be considered separate bids and the winner will be decided on the basis of the highest bid in each category.
How is the process different from what happened the last time?
There are two fundamental differences from what happened last time in 2017. First, as mentioned above, is that the composite bids have been done away with. Had this been applicable in 2017, Sony, which had the highest bid for TV, would have retained the television rights and Facebook would have walked away with the digital rights. Star managed to get the rights only because a composite bid was allowed.
Second is the introduction of the third bucket, which allows a streaming platform to obtain the non-exclusively rights for 18 games every season. With the opener and Playoffs included in this bucket, this is a good offer for the multiple platforms vying for the cricket pie and is going to fetch the BCCI top dollar.
Can there be a scenario where different companies end up with different buckets on offer?
Absolutely. Such a scenario is possible and very likely. For the overseas rights, for example, there is certainly the possibility of a different buyer compared to the one who picks up the rights for the Indian territory. Again, for the non-exclusive rights for 18 games, there is also the likelihood of a bidding war between the multiple streaming platforms. As a result, IPL 2023 stands to be consumed across multiple platforms in India and the world.
When is the decision expected?
There will be e-auctions for each bucket and each of the auctions will be conducted on June 12, 2022, with the winners expected to be declared on the same day.
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