Viacom18 has bagged the media rights – both digital and television – to Indian cricket globally for INR 5963 crore (USD 720 million approx.) for the period 2023-28. These rights extend to all the cricket the BCCI runs in the country, international and domestic, apart from the IPL.
Up against two competitors, Disney Star* and Sony, Viacom18 bid the highest in both digital and television categories, in an e-auction conducted by the BCCI on Thursday. In the digital category, Viacom18 bid INR 3101 crore (USD 375 million approx.), and another INR 2862 crore (USD 346 million approx.) for television rights. Disney Star and Sony’s bids remain unconfirmed.
In the previous cycle the BCCI had put three categories of rights up for bidding: Indian subcontinent television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and global consolidated rights (GCR). The winning bid was eventually made in the last category. This time the BCCI limited the bidding to two categories: TV for Indian subcontinent only (base price INR 20 crore, or USD 2.42 million approx.), and digital for Indian subcontinent combined with TV and digital rights for rest of the world (base price INR 25 crore, or USD 3 million approx.).
BCCI secretary Jay Shah had tweeted the news on Thursday evening.
Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the @BCCI Media Rights for both linear and digital for the next 5 years. India Cricket will continue to grow in both spaces as after @IPL, and @wplt20, we extend the partnership @BCCI Media Rights as well. Together we will continue to…
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) August 31, 2023
Last year, during the IPL media rights bidding, Viacom18 secured digital rights in the Indian subcontinent, and TV and digital rights across three global regions – Australia + New Zealand, the UK, and South Africa – for INR 23,758 crore (then USD 3 billion approx.). Disney Star had won IPL TV rights in the Indian subcontinent at the same auction.
Viacom18 then pipped Disney Star to the global media rights for the WPL, paying INR 951 crore (then USD 116 million approx.) for the period 2023-27.
Bilateral cricket financially less valuable now?
An overall comparison of the winning bids for the BCCI rights from 2018 and now would show a 2.8% drop, but there are 14 fewer matches in the current cycle. The bigger talking point would be the shrinking value of bilateral cricket rights compared to the exponential sums being forked out for IPL rights.
Last year the IPL climbed to a podium position globally, slotting in behind only the NFL in terms of per-match value after the sale of five-year rights (2023-27) for INR 48,390.5 crore (then USD 6.2 billion approx.).
In addition to the amount Viacom18 spent – as noted above – Disney Star retained the TV rights in the Indian subcontinent for INR 23,575 crore (then USD 3 billion approx.) while Times Internet paid almost USD 60 million for overall media rights in two other global regions – the Middle East (INR 205 crore/USD 26.27 million approx.) and the USA (INR 258 crore/US$ 33.06 million approx.).
Disney Star’s winning TV bid was worth INR 57.5 crore (then USD 7.36 million approx.) per match. In addition, Viacom18’s winning bids averaged to effectively INR 58 crore (then USD 7.43 million approx.) per match: INR 50 crore (then USD 6.40 million approx.) per match for subcontinent digital rights plus INR 33.24 crore (then USD 4.26 million approx.) per match for a non-exclusive package of high-profile games (ranging between 18 and 22 matches). That totals roughly INR 115 crore per match, not including Times Internet’s offerings.
*ESPNcricinfo and Disney Star are part of the Walt Disney Company.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo