The Board of Control for Cricket in India media rights process has reached its last stage with the submission of technical bids on Tuesday morning. The e-auction in the final round will determine the BCCI’s broadcast rights ownership for the international and domestic games to be hosted by the BCCI over the next five years.
Incumbent Star India and Sony Pictures India Network were the two broadcasters in the fray with four digital players – Reliance Group’s Jio has emerged as the only real threat for the two broadcasters.
Star and Sony with their respective digital platforms HotStar and SonyLiv always had an edge on the strength of better-combined numbers from their consolidated bids. However, Jio Infocomm is out to challenge the supremacy of country’s top two sports broadcast networks.
A source following the bid process closely has confirmed to insidesport.co that “Reliance, Star and Sony are bidding for all the rights”.
The rights are precious for both Star and Sony. While the 21st Century Fox-owned Star would like to retain its cricket broadcast monopoly in the country, Sony is eager to settle the score and complete its cricket portfolio, which already has seven international cricket boards, after having lost the precious Indian Premier League rights. The two broadcasters in spite of all aggression will enter the e-auction process with their budgetary and financial lines well defined, with little scope to breach those numbers.
Jio Infocomm, with the strong financial backing from the Reliance Group, holds the threat to upset the Star, Sony game plan.
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 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.
BCCI has kept the base price lower than the existing per match values at ₹ 43 crores (₹ 35 crore TV + ₹ 8 crores for digital) and ₹ 40 crores (₹ 33 + ₹ 7 crores) – for the first year and the remaining four years respectively.
The consolidated base price for the 102 games as per the FTP over the next five years stands at ₹ 4,134 crores. The BCCI, however, will be expecting a minimum of 50% rise over the base value. Jio’s entry in a big manner has made the final e-auction intriguing and also more lucrative for the BCCI.