The highest bid for the television and digital rights to Indian cricket from 2018 to 2023 has already passed the winning bid for the previous cycle by over 12.4%, and the bidding hasn’t finished yet. The top bid in the e-auction stands at INR 4328.25 crores (USD 665 million approx.) in the Global Consolidated Rights (GCR) category, which comprises the global television and digital rights to international cricket hosted by the BCCI in India.
Once the bidding began at 2pm IST on Tuesday, the BCCI tweeted an update with an initial top bid of INR 4176 crore for the GCR category; subsequent higher bids were INR 4201.20 cr, INR 4244 cr, INR 4303 cr and INR 4328.25 cr.
After every bid, the participants will get an hour to raise, which means the e-auction is likely to spill into Wednesday because proceedings will not go beyond 6pm IST on Tuesday. The bidding process will continue until the participants notify that they do not wish to bid higher.
The bidders were narrowed down from six to three – Sony Pictures Network India, Star India and Reliance Jio – after the BCCI’s legal team carried out technical and feasibility checks before the e-auction began on Tuesday.
There were three categories of rights on sale: the Indian television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and the global consolidated rights (GCR) comprising worldwide TV and digital rights.
In 2012, Star TV, then owned by Rupert Murdoch, had won the rights to broadcast Indian cricket until 2018. That deal, which also included internet and mobile rights, was valued at INR 3851 cr (approximately USD 750 million at the time) and covered 96 matches. The other bidder that year – at INR 3700 cr (USD 727 million at the time) – was Multi-Screen Media (Sony).
The sale of these rights will make for a second huge payday for the BCCI in less than a year. In September 2017, the BCCI had sold the worldwide IPL television and digital rights for the period 2018-22 for INR 16,347.5 cr (US$ 2.55 billion) to Star India.