An IPL game is now worth a record INR 105 crore (USD 13.44 million) making it – in terms of value per match – the second-most lucrative sporting product in the entire world, behind only the NFL (USD 35.07 million*). This figure may actually rise considering the e-auction for the T20 tournament’s media rights, which began on Sunday, continues.
The combined sum bid so far is INR 38,850 crore (USD 4.97 billion) – that is INR 21,090 crore (USD 2.7 billion) for Package A (TV rights for India sub-continent) and INR 17,760 crore (USD 2.27 billion) for Package B (digital for India subcontinent); it is already 2.38 times or 138% higher than the 2018-22 IPL rights deal, bagged by Star India in 2017 for $2.55 billion.
These numbers are based on there being 74 games per season in the next five-year rights cycle starting in 2023. As it stands, the IPL has overtaken the Premier League, whose value per match, as per the 2022-25 rights, is listed at USD 11.34 million**.
Doing away with the process of closed bids, the IPL put its media rights up for sale for the first time through an e-auction. In an e-auction, bids are filed through an online portal managed by an independent company. The highest bids across all categories are flashed on screen – simultaneously and live – but names of the bidders are not disclosed to ensure rivals don’t bump up prices.
For this auction, the IPL set a minimum base price for each of the four categories and asked bidders to list their price on a per match basis. For Package A the per match base price is INR 49 crore (USD 6.3 million). For Package B it is INR 33 crore (USD 4.2 million) per match. For Package C it is INR 16 crore (USD 2.05 million) per match. For Package D it is INR 3 crore (USD 390,000).
On Sunday, Packages A and B went up for bidding simultaneously with all the key bidders among final list of seven keenly contesting. The highest bid for Package A on was INR 57 crore (USD 7.29 million) – 16.3% higher than the base price set by IPL. The highest bid for Package B was INR 48 crore (USD 6.14 million), 45.4% higher than the base price.
The combined figure – INR 105 crore – is already 93.6% higher than the per match value in the previous IPL rights deal (INR 54.23 crore).
The bidders – Disney-Star, Sony, Viacom-Reliance, Zee, Fun Asia, Super Sport and Times Internet – will resume the auction on Tuesday 11 am IST. As per rules set by IPL, the winner of Package A has the right to compete for the digital rights by offering the winner of Package B 5% more than the top bid. They will then square off against each other until one of them drops out. Once the highest bidder for Packages A and B are determined, the auction process for Packages C & D will commence.
All USD values are approximations where 1 USD = 78 INR
* As per a Forbes report based on the NFL rights deal of 2021
** As per a report in the Athletic
Additional reporting by Yash Jha
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo