New Delhi: Star India, Sony Pictures Network and Reliance are fighting it out for the right to broadcast India’s home matches till 2023, and after rigorous bidding on the opening day in Mumbai on Tuesday, the process will continue on Wednesday that starts at 11am. And if Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) insiders are to be believed, the rights for Indian cricket is set to break the record Rs 54-crore mark achieved by Star when it won the Indian Premier League media rights in September 2017.
Speaking to CricketNext, a BCCI official said that while the board officials are also trying to understand the whole process and the way things unfold in an e-auction – the first in the history of BCCI, it can be roughly estimated that the per-match pay should be in the range of Rs 55-60 crore when the auction ends on Wednesday.
“It is very difficult to pick an exact figure as this is the first time that we are having an e-auction and everyone is trying to understand how the whole process works. But yes, it should end at something around Rs 55-60 crore per match,” the official said.
This means that the BCCI would get more than the Rs 54 crore it is set to get from Star India for broadcasting every IPL match. On the first day, the e-auction stopped at Rs 4442 crore. Interestingly, that is already 15% more than Star TV’s bid of Rs 3851 crore in 2012. And while both Star and Sony have spoken about the need to invest judicially, it is no secret that it is the Indian rights that drive the broadcast business. So, even though Star has the IPL and ICC matches and Sony has seven boards under its wings, bagging Indian cricket would be the icing on the cake. Not to forget new player Jio.
With only Star, Sony and Jio submitting the technical bids, it looks like Facebook, Google and YuppTV may have entered into a consortium with the primary bidders as was the case for some even during the IPL media rights process.
While Star and Sony are now fighting it out for the rights with Jio, the two major players in the Indian market had earlier both written to the BCCI making their displeasure known as the board has said that the rights winner will have to pay the same amount for India and non-India matches.
Star in its letter, in possession of CricketNext, wrote: “The average viewership on Indian matches is significantly higher than on non-India matches (as surveyed during the Asia Cup in 2016). Even an India match with a non-Test playing nation generates more viewership than two major Test nations playing each other. The bidder is expected to attribute the same per match value to any such match, without any realistic possibility of recovering such value. Paying same per match value for India matches and non-India matches is not commercially viable. We request the BCCI and CoA to reconsider their position.”
Sony had echoed the same sentiments: “These last minute changes on the bid documentation and the online bid is making it difficult for us to prepare for the bid on 3rd April. As you know, there are a lot of calculations and modelling that goes into a bid preparation and these last minute changes create so much uncertainty. One issue that is particularly of concern is regarding tri-series in India organized by the BCCI. The clarification says all matches will be valued the same. This means an India- Afghanistan-Bangladesh or an India-Bangladesh-Zimbabwe will be valued equally with an India-Australia-South Africa. This quite frankly is illogical. Advertisers and even the viewing public do not value these matches equally and for the BCCI to consider all of them as having the same value does injustice to bidders. We would earnest request BCCI to reconsider.”
Star India paid Rs 3851 crore for the rights to broadcast the matches from July 2012 to March 2018. SPN lost out to Star India for the Indian Premier League, after televising the cash-rich league from 2008 till 2017. While SPN lost out in the bid to get the media rights of the IPL this time round, they won the license to broadcast Australian and English cricket in the subcontinent, taking their tally to seven Test playing nations.