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IPL media rights to fetch BCCI Rs 32,890 crore at base price

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has set Rs 32,890 crore as the combined reserve price for the media rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) under four packages, ensuring that it will at least double the amount from the last five-year rights cycle ending in 2022, garnering nearly Rs 100 crore per match.

In the previous cycle, the world’s richest cricket board sold the rights for the world’s richest league in the sport for Rs 16,348 crore.

Top executives who have accessed the tender document confirmed to ET that there are four packages – India subcontinent TV rights, India subcontinent digital rights (exclusive and non-exclusive), non-exclusive digital rights (18 matches), and the rest of the world.

The executives said that the board has mentioned the base price considering 74 matches and has not clarified how many matches will be played per season.

As per the clauses, as and when the number of matches will be increased, the payout will also be increased on a pro-rata basis.

The reserve price for TV rights is kept at Rs 49 crore per match, which alone will result in the BCCI garnering at least Rs 18,130 crore for 74 matches.

For digital rights, the base price is kept at Rs 33 crore per match, which translates into Rs 12,210 crore for five years.

For the third package, where the digital rights for 18 matches will be made available – the opening match, playoffs, and some evening games – the price is kept at Rs 16 crore. This will result in interested parties starting the bid at Rs 1,440 crore.

For the rest of the world, per match base price is Rs 3 crore, or Rs 1,110 crore in total.

“While reserve price for the TV rights is on the expected lines, digital is far too aggressive,” said one of the executives. “Also, if someone is going to pay top dollars for the digital rights, and then will have to share 1/4th of the matches with someone else, it is going to destroy value for the company. Yes, the BCCI will earn a lot of money.”

The BCCI has decided to conduct an e-auction for the rights starting June 12. The process is likely to take 3-4 days, a second executive said.

Interestingly, lack of clarity on how many matches will be played per season is a big concern for the interested bidders.

BCCI officials could not be reached for their views.

Last time, the BCCI had capped the number of matches at 76. In the current season, there are 74 matches.

However, with the addition of two new teams, the number of matches may go up to 94. Earlier, while auctioning the two new teams, the BCCI had informed the team owners that there could be 74 matches for the first two seasons, 84 matches in the next two and 94 matches thereafter per season.

“As the price is going to increase pro-rata, what stops the BCCI from conducting 94 matches from the next year itself. For us to bid, we need to know,” said the second executive. “The issue is, the cost goes up with increase in matches, but the revenue doesn’t. You can increase ad inventory, but the distribution, syndication and other revenue streams don’t match up.”

However, the issue that is most troubling for the potential bidders is the fact that the winner of the first package can challenge the winner of the second package for a re-bid. Similarly, the ultimate winner of the second package can challenge the winner of the non-exclusive package.

“It’s very complex and in a way against the sanctity of the auction process. This way, one can sit out for digital rights after winning the TV rights and can come in later to challenge me for another round,” said a third executive.

This, all three executives said, might ensure that one party picks up the rights for all three, but the price will be too high.

“Anyway at 5% bid escalation, we are talking about an increment of Rs 1,500-2,000 crore. It will be interesting to see how many people come with that kind of money,” one of the people said. ET had first reported that the BCCI is likely to earn close to Rs 50,000 crore from the IPL media rights.

Some of the likely bidders for India rights include Disney+Hotstar, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), TV18/Viacom18, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), and Amazon.

It is learned that for the international markets, ESPN, Willow TV and FOX might be interested in US rights, while Sky Sports and Amazon are likely to bid for the UK.

For the Middle East, beIN and OSN are likely contenders, while Europe rights may attract bids from DAZN, Eleven Sports and Discovery Sports.

Super Sports is a likely contender for South Africa.

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