If there is one thing that unites the nation, it has to be the game of cricket. Even in these tough times of the pandemic, the craze for crickets has exponentially increased. Hence 2022 will be the year when the bidding wars for the media rights for cricket will reach a surprising high.
Reports suggest, that the bidding value for the telecasting rights is all set to cross the Rs. 50,000 crore range. The television and digital rights for the IPL, ICC events, and the bilateral matches will soon be auctioned with the top broadcasting tycoons being eager to get the lucrative deals.
IPL, the biggest carnival of cricket
The media rights for IPL will definitely be the center of attraction. IPL undoubtedly is the most popular cricket league in the world. The stupendous rise in the acquisition rights for the IPL is not unknown. When the marquee league began in 2008, its broadcasting rights went to SONY for a whopping Rs 8000 crore for a 10-year span.
In 2018, STAR bagged the rights for a gigantic Rs 16348 crore for the next 5 years. This clearly shows how big and grand the league has become since its inception. Surprisingly, the fee per match for an IPL game has gone past the broadcasting fee per match of an NBA and MLB game. The former however has way fewer fixtures than the latter. For more clarity, one can refer to Balu Nayar, former MD of IMG and a key architect of the IPL who says,
“The IPL rights are obviously the most important media bids to come out of India. We could now well see a doubling (or more) of the rights value. We could now well see the broadcast fees per match overtaking the EPL.”
The next in line are the ICC events and India’s international matches at home and abroad which come under BCCI. The next decade is lined up with ICC events with a WT20 in Australia this year and then the ODI World Cup in 2023.
“It is not easy to run a cricket channel with just the ICC rights,” a senior official at a popular network said.
Tussle between STAR and SONY or a surprise from Amazon?
Despite this, the rights of ICC championship matches might not garner a huge sum of money considering a short span. In the 2015-23 cycle, the ICC rights were bought by STAR for Rs 11,880 crore, while BCCI, for 2018-22, were brought for Rs 6,138 crore. As per experts, even if the bids go up by 15 percent, the total deal will be Rs 21,000 crore.
“The ICC and BCCI rights are a quantum level below the IPL – as we used to pitch in the early days, India never loses at the IPL, and this reduces the risk considerably compared to other rights. Since the IPL rights would be held first, the “losers” would bid aggressively for the normal BCCI cricketing rights to have some presence in cricket.” Nayar said on why IPL will be the ultimate buy for leading networks. On whether the ICC matches will get a shocking high bid, he added, “I suspect that these have lost their sheen, and the BCCI rights have the advantage of continued presence through the year, which aids a subscription business,”.
Presently, the rights for IPL, ICC, and BCCI fixtures are with STAR and DISNEY India. However, with the likes of SONY, JIO, and ZEE in contention and digital giants like FACEBOOK and AMAZON, the contest for the acquisition of broadcasting rights will surely be tight and exciting.
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