The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has raised a record ₹48,390 crore by auctioning media rights for 410 matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the period 2023-27, with digital rights exceeding TV rights for the first time.
The total money raised in the auction is almost three times the previous rights cycle, which was won by DisneyStar -- for digital and TV rights -- at ₹16,347.5 crore for five years.
This time too, DisneyStar has retained the IPL TV rights for the Indian subcontinent for ₹23,575 crore, while digital rights went to Viacom 18, a joint venture between billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Network18 and Paramount Global (previously known as ViacomCBS), for ₹23,758 crore.
"I am thrilled to announce that STAR INDIA wins India TV rights with their bid of ₹23,575 crores. The bid is a direct testimony to the BCCI’s organisational capabilities despite two pandemic years," says BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a series of tweets.
He adds: "Viacom18 bags digital rights with its winning bid of ₹23,758 cr. India has seen a digital revolution & the sector has endless potential. The digital landscape has changed the way cricket is watched. It has been a big factor in the growth of the game & the Digital India vision."
Viacom18 also emerged as the winner for three international territories -- Australia-New Zealand, UK-Europe and South Africa. The two territories -- the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) went to Times Internet, a Times Group company.
According to Jay Shah, the BCCI will utilise the revenue generated from IPL to strengthen its "domestic cricket structure starting from grassroots, to boost infrastructure and spruce up facilities across India and enrich the overall cricket-watching experience".
He adds that it’s time now for state associations, and IPL franchises to work together with the IPL to enhance the fan experience and ensure cricket fans enjoy high-quality cricket in world-class facilities.
He also says that IPL is now the 2nd most valued sporting league in the world in terms of per match value. "Today is a red-letter day for India Cricket, with Brand IPL touching a new high with e-auction resulting in INR 48,390 cr value."
Interestingly, this will be for the first time that TV, as well as digital rights, will be split among two companies. During the past 15 years, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and DisneyStar held combined rights for the past 10 and five years, respectively. While Sony had acquired IPL rights for ₹8,200 crore, DisneyStar had won bidding for ₹16,347.5 crore. Also, it has happened for the first time that digital rights sold for more than TV, reflecting the penetration of OTT (over-the-top) platforms in India. Globally, it is second only to NFL (National Football League) in the U.S.
During the current round of auctions, the value per IPL match has also doubled to around ₹114 crore from ₹54.5 crore previously.
"We are pleased to extend our association with the Indian Premier League and look forward to offering the next five seasons across our portfolio of television channels," Rebecca Campbell, chairman, International Content and Operations, The Walt Disney Company.
She adds that the company has disciplined bids with a focus on long-term value. "We chose not to proceed with the digital rights given the price required to secure that package. IPL is an important component of our portfolio of television channels in India," says Campbell.