The Board of Control for Cricket in India has issued some key clarifications regarding the IPL in a list of answers released to prospective media rights bidders of the league. The prospective bidders, who are in contention to sign a 10-year deal with the league (2018-2027), had submitted a list of 259 questions to the BCCI, the first list of answers of which has been dispatched by the BCCI this week.
From the 78-page list of answers, it is clear that the Board does not foresee a future for Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions. The suspended franchises from Chennai and Rajasthan are expected to be back on board from the 2018 season onwards, ‘if they fulfill all the obligations’. However, the Board has not crossed out the possibility of expanding the IPL to 10 teams sometime in the future – later than 2018.
“There will be eight teams and 60 matches from 2018,” the BCCI release said. All the ‘original’ sides – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mohali besides Chennai and Jaipur – will participate in the 2018 version, and also for the foreseeable future.
The release also mentions, “Should there be expansion, the league will not have more than 10 teams and 76 matches at any stage.”
Change in bidding system
The decision on granting the media rights is expected to take place this month, following October 25, by when all bids must be submitted. Sixteen parties, including Star India, Sony Pictures and Reliance Jio, are known to have taken the Invitation to Tender document, but not all are expected to place a final bid.
In what is a big development in the economics of the IPL, the Board has also changed the tendering format to favour TV broadcasters. While there had been an earlier requirement to submit three separate bids on TV broadcast in India, digital broadcast on India and international broadcast respectively, the BCCI will now allow ‘consolidated bids’.
This makes it likely that either of Star India or Sony Pictures will win all IPL rights, because TV broadcast in India commands the largest share of absolute value. This has also made it difficult for digital-only or international-only bidders, like Amazon or ESPN.
Twitter is also reportedly in the running for IPL’s digital rights, making it a possibility that matches can be streamed on the social networking site. However, as can be projected from the change in the bidding process, this is not to be.