Get Indian Cricket Broadcasting Rights at a Record Price
The auction cemented the league’s position among the world’s most valuable sporting assets, as the game once played has become a commercial juggernaut.
India’s governing body for cricket on Tuesday said it has sold television and digital broadcasting rights for a record $6.2 billion, nearly three times the value of its previous contracts, making the Indian Premier League one of the world’s most valuable sporting assets. The place has been strengthened.
The deal consists of two major parts, one being the television rights for the Indian subcontinent, which was bought by local Disney subsidiary Star India for $3.02 billion. The second is the digital rights, which was bought by Viacom18, a joint venture between Paramount and India’s Reliance Industries, for $3.05 billion. Both deals last for five years and begin the next year.
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Indian Premier League has turned a one-time game into a commercial juggernaut, wooing the world’s best players with million-dollar contracts.
Television and digital deals, valued at over $1 billion per season, have firmly established the Indian cricket competition in the top tier of international sports leagues such as the National Football League ($10 billion per year), English Premier League football (about $4 billion). has done. and the National Basketball Association ($2.7 billion).
On a per-match basis, the Indian Premier League, whose season lasts only two months, is now only behind the N.F.L.
In India, cricketers have become household names, earning contracts worth millions of dollars. Viewers for the league have soared on the streaming platform, although television viewership has declined this year.
Bidding for broadcast rights attracted some of the world’s biggest companies, including The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Networks India and Reliance Industries, a conglomerate controlled by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
The appetite for IPL is the same as for the NFL. In the United States, where most of the interest and income is sourced from domestic or regional audiences. The NBA and the English Premier League have expanded their business through broad appeal, with the sale of global television rights now a cornerstone of their growth strategies.
Although I.P.L has attracted interest from foreign investors, wealthy sports owners and private equity companies have drawn to its rising profile and skyrocketing television deals. CVC Capital Partners, which once owned the Formula 1 racing series and is an investor in multiple sports, bought the new Ahmedabad franchise in 2021, beating rivals that included the Glazer family, which owns Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In part, the growing popularity of Indian cricket comes due to shorter matches and star power.
The Indian Premier League, created in 2007, had a bold innovation: matches would last just three hours, not a full day or more, as is traditionally the case in Test matches between national teams.
At the time, this was a highly controversial move in a sport that cherished the tradition. But it brought many new Indian fans to cricket. Celebrities like Mr. Ambani and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan started buying franchises.
Mr Ambani is the owner of the league’s most valuable team, the Mumbai Indians, which has won five titles and is worth $1.3 billion. Mr Khan, film actress Juhi Chawla and industrialist Jay Mehta are the owners of Kolkata Knight Riders, which is worth around $1.1 billion.
According to Broadcast Audience Research Council India, an industry body, bids for broadcast rights were higher despite data on television viewership in the first five weeks of this year’s season, which began in late March, compared to last year’s It was about 30 percent less than in the previous year. ,
“The television audience is likely to shrink from here,” said Karan Taurani, a media analyst at Elara Capital in Mumbai. However, he said he expects digital viewership to grow by at least 15 percent.
Pradeep Patrika, a longtime sports editor and historian of cricket, said the league has made the Indian Cricket Board one of the richest sports regulatory bodies in the world.
Even as the broadcasting rights of the league have become a rich source of revenue for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the board has fallen prey to scandal. Its founder Lalit Modi fled the country in 2010 after being sacked over financial irregularities. In 2013, two teams were suspended from play for two seasons as a result of an illegal betting investigation.
But the scandal hasn’t hurt the popularity of the league. In recent years, broadcast subscriptions have boomed by millions of new viewers, pulling in huge advertising revenue. Disney-owned Star India paid $2.09 billion for television and digital broadcast rights in a five-year deal that ended this season.