Global Giants in the Race for IPL Media Rights

The success of the past two seasons of the IPL has silenced the critics, who had been writing off the league as just a fad. In spite of being held during the difficult times of the global pandemic, and sometimes without the presence of any spectators within the stadium, the past two seasons have seen record viewership on television as well as streaming channels. Not only fans, but punters have also been equally excited about the IPL. Leading websites like OCB have seen a huge number of visitors looking for solid cricket betting tips on IPL matches.

Upcoming media rights auction

Currently, the media rights for the IPL rest with Star India, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. The broadcaster had won a composite bid for both, television as well as online streaming rights for a period of 5 years from 2018 to 2022. The company paid a whopping ₹16,347.50 crores, or more than $2.5 billion for the period, which works out to more than ₹50 crores per match with the 60 games per season format.

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With the current contract expiring in 2022, the BCCI is all set to put out the tenders for the next 5-year cycle, from 2023 to 2027. A lot has changed over the past 5 years, and India has seen the entry of many national and international media giants over the past few years. While Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar still remain the dominant players, there are others who are fast catching up.

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Sources within the BCCI have said that they have already received feelers from a US-based media company. The news will come as a positive for the board, as it is set to rake in unprecedented revenues thanks to the number of interested parties.

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While the previous bidding cycles had seen just two serious contenders in the form of Sony and Star, the next auction is likely to see the entry of heavyweights like Facebook, Amazon,  Jio-Viacom18, and even Netflix.

Entry of two new teams

The BCCI recently concluded the much-awaited auction of two new IPL teams, bringing the total number of teams to 10 from the existing 8. The RP Sanjiv Goenka group won the Lucknow franchise for ₹7090 crores, while the CVC Capital Partners forked out ₹5625 crores for the Ahmedabad franchise.

The addition of the two new teams will mean that the IPL season will now last for 74 matches from the existing 60, which will also translate into additional revenue. In fact, Star India is expected to pay the BCCI an additional fee of more than ₹700 crores for the 2022 season, when the new teams are introduced.

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The sale of the two new teams, while bringing in close to ₹13,000 crores for the BCCI, has also boosted the brand value of the IPL, which sat at close to ₹50,000 crores according to recent estimates.

If the bidding values of the new teams are anything to go by, the BCCI can easily expect the income from media rights to more than double from the existing values and fetch anywhere from ₹30,000 to ₹40,000 crores.

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A win-win for media giants

During the 2020 edition, it is believed that Star India raked in ₹2500 crores through advertisements alone. Now, with an increased number of matches as well as the opportunity to sell ad-slots at a premium due to increasing eye-balls, the media companies are expected to earn much more through this route. Along with this, it also means many more people will be searching for match prediction in India. 

Coupled with that will be the increase in revenue through digital broadcast, as more and more users will be subscribing to the streaming services to catch live action on their mobile phones and smart TVs. Disney+ Hotstar has shown that if played well, the IPL media rights can translate into enormous gains in subscriptions to OTT platforms.

The IPL rights can also help the platforms push their non-cricket content in the future, and broaden their base.

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