The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) revealed that the invitation for applying for media rights for the Indian Premier League has received an overwhelming response with as many as 18 leading media companies buying the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document for the next cycle of IPL television and digital rights which will kick in after the 2017 edition of the cash-rich T20 league.
Despite the BCCI and the IPL itself coming under heavy scrutiny with their ongoing trouble with the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel committee, the huge response received for the bid for media rights is proof enough of the massive economic power of the IPL which has not escaped the attention of the likes of Twitter, Amazon and many others.
The biggest media tussle is expected to surface between Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), who are the current holder of the television rights for the IPL and the Star India group, which have made no secret of their desire to add the IPL to their already massive kitty.
Star India are currently in possession of the digital rights but could face stiff competition with other leading media groups joining the fray.
Digital rights – 5 years; Television rights – 10 years
While the television rights for the IPL in the Indian subcontinent will go under the hammer for a 10-year period up until 2027, digital rights for the Indian subcontinent as well as the rest of the world will be decided for a five-year period once the actual bidding process gets underway.
Expressing immense satisfaction at the response generated since the purchase window for the media rights was opened on September 19, BCCI President Anurag Thakur said that he wanted to maximize the reach of the IPL by allowing access on various media platforms and not just restrict the spectacle to the television sets.
"This is going to be a historical moment for Indian cricket. I am pleased to see the overwhelming response from the media and technology companies for the IPL media rights. With the global trends of showcasing content on multiple platforms becoming increasingly important - TV, internet, and mobile rights are up for grabs together this time," he said.
“To have as many as 18 prospective bidders in the fray reinstates the faith of market forces in the Indian Premier League,” he went on to add.
BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri, however, admitted that the television industry still stands head and shoulders above the other media platforms thus making the BCCI adopt a different approach with regards to the tenure of the television rights.
"In our country television is very well established," he said. "If you look at most cricket tenders, eight years-ten years have been the norm. That's why we went for 10 years. The area where trends are changing very fast is digital, that's why we have reduced digital to five years."
Complete list of companies
The complete list of the 18 media entities that have purchased tenders are – Followon Interactive Media, Taj TV India, Star India, Sony Pictures Networks, Times Internet, Supersport International, Reliance Jio Digital Services, Gulf DTH, GroupM Media India, BeIN IP, Econet Media, Sky UK, BTG Legal Services, BT PLC, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and ESPN Digital Media.