The bidding for the television and digital rights to broadcast Indian cricket from 2018 to 2023 is closing in on the billion-dollar mark and the e-auction is likely to spill over into a third day.
The bid value had reached INR 6001 crore (USD 920 million approx) on Wednesday – the second day of the e-auction – in Global Consolidated Rights (GCR) category, which includes worldwide television and digital rights. The figure has already passed the previous cycle’s winning bid of INR 3851 crores (USD $750m approx. at the time) by over 58%. The e-auction will resume at 11am IST on Thursday unless there is a winner by 6pm on Wednesday.
The first day of the auction had ended at 6pm on Tuesday, with the highest bid at INR 4442 crores (USD 680 million approx.). On Wednesday, the bids that were made public were of INR 4517.25 cr, 4565.20 cr, 5488.30 cr, 5748 cr and 6001 cr.
Once the process began on Tuesday, participants had an hour to raise after every bid, making the e-auction a multi-day process because proceedings could not go beyond 6pm IST on each day. 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 – 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.
The successful bidder will get to telecast 102 men’s international matches over the five-year period compared to 96 in the previous six-year cycle from 2012 to 2018. The 102 matches will be split among the home seasons as follows: 18 in 2018-19, 26 in 2019-20, 14 in 2020-21, 23 in 2021-22 and 21 in 2022-23. The rights will also include men’s domestic matches as well as the India women’s international matches.
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). 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 mean 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.
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.