IPL Media-rights auction: No global players but expects big show

While the global players have backed out of the race for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is expecting a big show on Sunday (June 12).

It is effectively a three-horse race for the linear rights — among Viacom 18 (new entrant), Sony (previous rights holder), and Disney Star (the incumbents).

The BCCI had opened the bidding process for the 2023-27 cycle on May 4. The last date for submission of bids was May 22.

The global players who had shown interest in the auction process — beIN Sports, Discovery, Sky Network, and Willow TV — have all pulled out. This is largely due to the high reserve price set by the BCCI and also because of the current economic climate.

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BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had said that the base price for the IPL media rights had been set at Rs 4,000 crore (US$ 555.6 million) for the 2023-27 cycle. This is a significant increase from the Rs 8,200 crore that Star India paid for the 2018-22 cycle.

“It is disappointing that the global players have not submitted their bids. But we are expecting a big show from the Indian bidders on Sunday,” a BCCI office-bearer told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

“All three bidders — Viacom 18, Sony, and Star — have done their homework. They know what are the other two bidders quoting. So, it should be a close fight,” he added.

The BCCI has also received bids for digital rights, but the identity of the bidders is not known yet.

“There are a few players in the digital space too but we don’t know their identity. The bids will be opened on Sunday and then we will come to know who all have bid for the digital rights,” the BCCI source said.

The IPL media rights were last auctioned in September 2017, when Star India emerged as the successful bidder with a record offer of Rs 16,347.50 crore for a five-year period.

The current cycle of the IPL will end in 2022. The BCCI is hoping to generate more than Rs 20,000 crore from the sale of the media rights for the 2023-27 cycle.

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