If the Indian Premier League media rights auction goes as per its current frenzy and hype, the Board of Control for Cricket in India could set an all-time high in its earnings from a single event. (More Cricket News)
On Sunday, there will be more interest in the sale of IPL media rights auction than Team India's bid to win the second T20 international in Cuttack. India lost the first T20 by seven wickets in Delhi on June 9.
At a time when the Sensex is sliding every day and India's economy is looking bleak, cricket seems to be recession free. Experts are predicting that every IPL match could fetch BCCI a record INR 100 crores. Till IPL 2022, every match was about INR 50 crores!
At about 13.3 million USD per match, IPL will be in second position in terms of per-match broadcast rights after the American National Football League (43.4 million USD) and ahead of English Premier League soccer (10.53 million USD), points out Harsh Talikoti, director, D and P Advisory.
Given its global reach and attraction, the BCCI has already doubled the media rights value of IPL for the next five-year cycle (2023-2027). Even at its base price, the rights will go for a minimum of INR 32,000 crores. When STAR India bagged the rights in 2018, it had paid a record fee of INR 16,347.5 crores (2.55 billion USD).
Although experts are predicting that the IPL media rights will go for around INR 40,000 crores, there is some apprehension because the brands that currently spend big on cricket are looking at an uncertain future.
The online gaming industry, the cryptocurrency market and edu-tech industry are facing some uncertain times and it may hit calculations of the media broadcasters who are aspiring for the big rights.
Also the Chinese mobile companies like Vivo have changed their gameplan and tying up with more high-profile global sports events like the FIFA World Cup to grab eyeballs.
THE BATTLE ROYALE
Yet, in Indian sports, IPL is all about bragging rights and even as Amazon has reportedly withdrawn from the IPL media rights auction, there will be many, like Reliance, who will be willing to spend any amount for the rights.
The competition may finally narrow down to two players - Disney STAR and Viacom 18 (backed by Reliance).
Industry experts say players like Amazon and Google are a "lot of noise" and like "smoke screen" because they may have deep pockets but no monetisation model. They expect SONY and Zee to pull out of the race at some stage of the e-auction, the first time it will happen in BCCI.
"I think the Uday Shankar plus Reliance combine and Disney Star are the only two serious competitors in the fray. Rest of them either don’t have the monetisation vehicles or don’t have the balance sheets for the size of the punt," says Sandeep Goyal, managing director of Rediffusion.
Brand and strategy expert Harish Bijoor feels Amazon's presence would have added the irrational and deep pockets of a global player but their absence means "the bids will not be as hot as it would and could have been."
The IPL media rights will be auctioned in four buckets, with each match in a particular bin having a unique base price. The most lucrative buckets will be A and B.
While A will be TV rights for Indian sub-continent, B will be exclusive digital rights for the same region. Buckets C is for a specific package of matches for the Indian sub-continent while package D is for TV and digital rights for Rest of the World.
The IPL packages have been cleverly designed in such a way that the BCCI is guaranteed of its base price (32,000 crores) of all the packages combined.
For example, in bucket A, the base price of a match is 49 crores. So, if there are 74 matches in a season, BCCI is assured of 49 x 74 crores x five seasons = INR 18,130 crores, more than what STAR paid for all the rights in the last cycle. Bucket B thus has a base price of 12,210 crores and Package D is a minimum of 1,110 Crores!
"Similar to last time around, broadcasters would emphasise on winning the overall rights (TV, digital) rather than focusing on individual rights as the broadcaster acquiring the overall rights will be able to control the advertising market better and it would also help them retain viewership within their own network," says Talikoti.
The auctions will begin at 11 AM on Sunday and will end until all bids are exhausted. It can end even on Monday.