Like most other industries, the sports industry is being disrupted by technology advancements and cultural changes. The road to professional sports is changing as reports and investigations shed light on the business and corruption in sports.
Report by FIFA into bidding for the hosting rights for the football World Cup have indicated that the Government officials have become bribers, paying from the public purse to private organisations to secure the prestigious sporting events.
In international sports there have also been accusations of involvement in FIBA bribery scandal against as major a broadcaster as Fox and several others.
The Supreme Court earlier this year had asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India that why an e-auction of the Indian Premier League media rights was not possible.
It did not happen for the IPL, but eventually when in April this year the BCCI went to determine the international and domestic cricket rights for cricket in India, the board had made a hugely significant 48% gain over base price for the bid.
Following the path-breaking, thoroughly absolute transparent process over two days, Star Sports won the consolidated bid for ₹ 6,138.1 crore rupees. The seamless process devised and executed by mjunction Services Limited also pronounced the arrival of e-auction in Indian sports.
mjunction chief executive Vinaya Varma asserts that e-auction is the way forward for transparency and better efficiency in sports – not just in India but globally.
In a candid chat with Insidesport.co, the mjunction CEO shared his views on various aspects of e-commerce in sports. Here are the excerpts.
Insidesport: A strong believer in the power of e-commerce, you are now also the pioneer to have established e-auction as the way forward in multi-million dollar sports industry in India. How is sports going to be a major marketplace for mjunction’s portfolio?
Vinaya Varma: Sports management is a multi-crore and rapidly growing industry. As it soars in size and stature, the focus is on transparency and efficiency.
A Global Corruption report in Sports, published by Transparency International in 2016, had highlighted the need for solutions that could enhance transparency in Sports commerce. Accusations like the one which erupted in 2017, where Fox Sports was accused of bribery in a bid to secure football rights, also highlighted the same need for efficient and transparent solutions for Sports.
mjunction, with its long years of experience in replacing manual processes with customized digital solutions, is well placed to transform the way sports media rights is sold across the world in major sporting events.
Insidesport: How exactly do you see the Business of Sports unfolding in India?
Vinaya Varma: Cricket is undoubtedly the king of sport in India. But other sports are coming up in a big way. With the recent successes in international sporting events like the Asian Games, I think professional sports is all set for big business in India.
Insidesport: Mjunction has inked an agreement with one of India’s leading sport management firm Sporty Solutionz to jointly exploit sports business sphere. How do you think this historic venture between Sporty Solutionz and mjunction will bring a revolution in sports’ commercial eco-system?
Vinaya Varma: In a first-of-its-kind venture, mjunction has tied up with Sporty Solutionz, a premier sports marketing firm, to help national and international federations overcome the tricky issues of finalising media rights and sponsorships for global sports properties as well as for events organised in India.
National and international sports federations will be able to finalise the right value for their media rights through a transparent e-auction mechanism designed by mjunction. The e-auction platform will bring in disintermediation, negate corruption charges levelled against these federations, and help them adopt a process that is efficient and transparent.
Insidesport: What value will this partnership bring on to the board for mjunction?
Vinaya Varma: For mjunction, it means moving to another new sector altogether – the dynamic world of sports. It will use its long years of experience and robust technology platform to design and customise the best possible fair, transparent and equitable e-auction solution for sports federations around the world. This partnership will also help mjunction to make deeper inroads into the sporting field.
Insidesport: Apart from the International Sporting Bodies, can domestic Sports federations also be benefited from the e-Solutions?
Vinaya Varma: Yes of course. mjunction’s platform will be equally beneficial for domestic sports federations as well.
Insidesport: After successfully conducting e-auction for BCCI domestic and international media rights, have you noticed any surge in the demand for e-auction?
Vinaya Varma: Several sports federations have shown keen interest after the BCCI e-auction. In the last five months, many of them have reached out to mjunction and Sporty Solutionz, and some of them have asked for help in developing their policy for media rights sales and then going ahead with price and buyer discovery. mjunction and Sporty Solutionz are closely working with these sports federations to offer them solutions that best fit their needs.
Insidesport: How confident are you on the fact that, this e-solution portal will definitely bring transparency into the system?
Vinaya Varma: mjunction has a unique strength. Instead of offering the existing solution, the work commences by first understanding the need and pain areas of the sports federations. A team of experts begins by closely studying the environment and constraints under which they are operating, and solutions are customised based on these inputs. The objective is that they could get the best value from sale of their assets.
mjunction’s platform is built on robust technology and transparency is one of our key objectives. We leave no stone unturned to ensure elimination of all human intervention in the process, which is completely automated. With mjunction’s track record and experience of conducting more than a million e-auctions by now, there is no room for any doubt regarding bringing in transparency into the sports domain.
Insidesport: Any message for the sports fraternity where people are yet to understand the portal’s deliverables?
Vinaya Varma: I am a firm believer in the power of e-commerce. My message for the sports fraternity is that please evaluate mjunction’s e-commerce solution for selling your media rights. While the media rights sales will be highly transparent and efficient, significantly improved price realisation for your sport assets also awaits you.
In the recent developments in sports Steel Authority of India Limited and Tata Steel joint venture mjunction has tied up with Sporty Solutionz; a premier sports marketing company to provide e-auction and e-sales programmes for the global sports business.
The joint venture is committed to providing the highest level of security in deals, best possible price discovery for the Right Holders, Transparency in the process and Corruption free service.
mjunction till date has facilitated e-transactions worth over ₹ 2 lakh crore through its various domains, including metaljunction.com, buyjunction.in, coaljunction.in, autojunction.in, valuejunction.in, financejunction.in, straightline.in and mjunctionedge.
Now the path-breaking BCCI media rights e-auction has added another first to mjunction’s trend-setting journey on the path of growth through an ecosystem that works for efficiency and transparency in business development of clients and other stakeholders.