The Board of Control for Cricket in India broadcast rights’ e-auction will literally be a two-horse race between Star India and Sony Pictures India Network, with four digital player – Facebook, Google, Jio Infocomm and Yupp TV – holding the reigns to determine the ultimate numbers in an open bid battle.
Sony India has been strengthening its cricket portfolio ever since it has lost the big-ticket Indian Premier League to much aggressive rival Star India in a ₹16,347.5 crore bid in September last year.
Having lost the prestigious and lucrative IPL deal, Sony has worked strategically to strengthen its international cricket kitty by snatching two top cricket boards from Star India’s basket. The former had rested Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board rights from Star India to create a strong portfolio of seven international cricket boards. Star in the meantime has bagged the New Zealand Cricket rights up to 2020.
In spite of seven international boards in Sony’s cricket closet, Star drives home the advance on the strength of IPL, which for ten years meant cricket on Sony.
The final round of this virtual fight to finish rivalry will be played on Tuesday, April 3, in Mumbai. The open e-auction process will make the battle tougher and intriguing for both the players.
The five-year media rights cycle up to March 2023, as per the present BCCI FTP, will include a total of 102 international matches – 18 in 2018-19; 26 in 2019-2020, 14 in 2020-2021 and 22 each in 2021-2022 and 2022-23.
Even as there are not many players in the fray, even as the two major contenders are not pleased with BCCI’s decision to keep the base price lower than the existing per match values at ₹ 43 crores and ₹ 40 crore – for the first year and the remaining four years respectively – and also even as both the broadcaster have been philosophically talking about making rational bids, the BCCI will be expecting a big windfall.
For the BCCI, the media rights commercial journey had started with ₹2,727 crore four-year deal @ ₹37.47 crore per match from Nimbus Sports, which the broadcaster had renegotiated for ₹ 2,000 crores for the 2010-2014 four-year cycle @ ₹31.25 crore per match. The deal fell through within two years, allowing Star India the big entry to change the broadcast horizon for Indian cricket with a ₹3,851 crore six-year (2012-2018) signing, which had a per game value of ₹32.5 crore for the first two years (2012-2014) and then ₹43.2 crore for the next four years (2014-2018).
For now, the BCCI has fixed the base price for the first year rights period (2018-2019) at ₹ 43 crores (₹ 35 crore TV + ₹ 8 crores for digital), and then for the next four years are an even lower ₹ 40 (₹ 33 + ₹ 7 crore), the Indian cricket board is set to get richer by more than ₹ 4,134 crores, the base value for the 102 games during the rights period.