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India’s cricket riches set to grow with IPL media rights deal

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Cricket’s most lucrative competition is expected to reap a record windfall tomorrow when Disney, Amazon and other media giants compete for the right to broadcast Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

Virat Kohli, Jos Buttler, David Warner and other top-flight cricketers have helped the Twenty20 (T20) tournament rapidly grow its global fan base and revenues since its 2008 debut.

A revamped licensing arrangement for 2023-27 could fetch up to USD7.7 billion for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), analysts said.

The figure would dwarf the USD2.55 billion Disney-owned Star India paid for the previous five-year rights deal that concluded last month with a gripping final, played before a record crowd of nearly 105,000 people.

“The IPL has grown big time over the years and it has gone global in terms of its reach for the fans,” the board’s treasurer Arun Dhumal told AFP.

Virat Kohli. FILE PHOTO: AFP

This year the BCCI is capitalising on its audience by splitting media rights into four agreements.

Packages include the sole rights on television in the Indian sub-continent, broadcasts for the rest of the world, digital broadcasting and a bespoke package for special matches such as play-offs.

Base prices range from USD390,000 to USD6.3 million for each match.

Dhumal said tomorrow’s auction, which will be conducted online from Mumbai, will allow an “all-inclusive and transparent process”.

Bidding could carry on beyond until all four agreements are finalised, and interested parties can bid for multiple packages.

Global broadcast giants Disney, Amazon, Sony and Viacom are in the running, along with local media group Zee and Reliance, India’s biggest conglomerate.

“Big players were there last time as well. Facebook submitted a bid for digital.

“So every digital platform knows the importance of IPL,” media analyst Karan Taurani of Mumbai-based Elara Capital, told AFP.

“The interest is very high.”

Taurani expects the 2023-27 rights deals to fetch up to USD7.7 billion on the back of the IPL’s expanded 10-team competition and inflation.