Viacom 18, a Reliance-owned media outlet, has emerged victorious in the auction for media rights, encompassing both digital and TV broadcasting, of India’s domestic matches and BCCI-hosted domestic tournaments for the next five years. The auction took place on August 31, 2023. This significant acquisition complements Viacom 18’s existing digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the FIFA World Cup rights for India. Let’s delve deeper into the details.
Viacom 18 faced fierce competition from Sony Sports Network and Star Sports in the bidding process. Star Sports already held TV rights for ICC events and the IPL, leaving Sony to vie for these coveted rights.
Pricing and Valuation:
For the 88 matches scheduled between 2023 and 2028, the BCCI set a base price of Rs 20 crore per match for TV rights and Rs 25 crore per match for digital rights, totaling Rs 3,960 crore.
- Viacom 18 secured digital rights for approximately Rs 3,101 crore.
- TV rights were acquired for approximately Rs 2,862 crore.
- The combined deal amounts to approximately Rs 5,963 crore.
Broadening Cricket Portfolio:
With this acquisition, Viacom 18 now possesses an extensive portfolio of high-profile cricket properties, including IPL digital rights. Their cricket portfolio does not include IPL linear (TV) and ICC events.
Effective Date and Upcoming Matches:
The rights will become effective with India’s three-match home series against Australia commencing on September 22, 2023, and will remain in effect until March 31, 2028.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah congratulated Viacom 18 on Twitter for winning the media rights, emphasizing the continued growth of India Cricket in both linear and digital spaces.
Increased Per Match Value:
India is scheduled to play 88 international games across three formats (25 Tests, 27 ODIs, and 36 T20Is) during the next five years. The per-match value of the deal stands at approximately Rs 67.76 crore, a significant increase from the previous cycle’s Rs 60 crore per match value.
Despite the higher per-match value, BCCI will receive Rs 175 crore less than the Rs 6,138 crore it received in the previous cycle, which featured more games (102 in total). This discrepancy may be attributed to the declining popularity of ODI format matches.
T20 matches remain the primary revenue driver, especially for games against other nations, while marquee Test matches and series against England and Australia tend to attract more advertising revenue.
Industry Expert’s Perspective:
An industry expert highlights the challenges faced by broadcasters in monetizing Test matches due to the nature of pitches in India, which often result in games concluding early. They emphasize the importance of considering viewers’ fatigue with an abundance of T20 leagues worldwide.
Future of Bilateral ODI Series:
The expert suggests reconsidering the viability of one-day bilateral series, especially in non-World Cup years, due to their limited revenue potential in the current cricket landscape.