Disney Star and Viacom18 emerged as the two power players at the bidding process for the e-auction of the Indian Premier League’s media rights for the next five-year cycle spanning 2023 to 2027. The five-year roster of up to 410 matches will be televised by the Disney-Star collaboration, while Viacom18 will be offering the matches live on its OTT platforms.
Reflective of the changing landscape of how the viewers consume content, the digital rights have gone higher than the financial moolah attracted by the TV rights.
While Disney Star, who owned the previous rights for TV and digital both, have now got their renewed TV deal for INR 23,575 crores, Viacom 18 have secured the digital rights for the Indian market as well as three other global regions – Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom and South Africa for INR 23,758 crores.
Times Internet has proved to be a darkhorse of the e-auction process, winning rights to two major overseas markets – the Middle East and the United States of America – for a total of INR 205 crores and 258 crores, respectively.
As revealed by a further breakdown of its whopping 48,000 crores and more deal for 2023-27, the IPL, world cricket’s richest property, is now even richer and globally standing second to only the mighty popular American Football league, the NFL, in its per match value from the broadcasters.
The Disney-Star consortium will be paying off INR 57.5 crores to the BCCI per each IPL game till 2027, while the Indian board will receive an amount of INR 50 crores per game from Viacom18. The Viacom18 will also be giving the board INR 33 crores for an exclusive rights package of high-profile games, namely the opening game, weekend night fixtures, the playoffs and the final.
The Viacom18 pay-off also tells brightly of IPL as an entity on the digital platform. From a league that in its early seasons got streamed for free on YouTube by commissioner Lalit Modi to garner interest, the tournament now commands an eye-catching sum on various subscription-based platforms.
The reach of the television stays deep into the Indian market, but a rise in viewers on the OTT has played a major factor in the digital deal matching and eventually going higher than its TV rights partner.
Collectively, the Premier League has seen a jump of 196% in its previous financial pool than what it received from its Indian and overseas rights partners on both TV and digital. A major factor behind companies’ willingness to bid so high is the imminent increase in matches. The previous rights deal was for 60 matches. The IPL 2022, expanded to 10 teams, got played over 74 games.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed in an interview with PTI that the IPL 2023 and 2024 will remain 74-match events. But the tournament will span up to two and half months for 84 games in 2025 and 2026, before ultimately reaching 94 fixtures (all play all) in 2027 and from there, potentially establishing a designated three-month window in the calendar.
“There were approximately 560 million digital viewers in 2017 and 665 million in 2021. You expect it to grow even more in the coming years. “By 2024, there will be 900 million internet users in India. Obviously, linear viewership (TV) will remain but there is a transition towards digital viewership and that’s how you realise the value,”Shah told PTI.