Viacom18 has bagged the media rights — both TV and digital — for BCCI’s home matches at a valuation of Rs 5963 crore.
This means that Sports18 and JioCinema will broadcast 88 matches over a period of five years. It begins with the three-match ODI series against Australia next month and will conclude in March 2028.
Viacom18 will have to shell out Rs 67.8 crore per game, Rs 7.8 crore or around 12.7 per cent higher than the price of the last cycle’s valuation. The TV component is learnt to have amounted to around Rs 32.5 crore per game while the digital valuation stood at Rs 35.3 crore.
It was a two-way battle at the e-auction conducted by the BCCI on Thursday. The Reliance-backed Viacom18 outbid Sony Sports Network with Disney Star remaining absent. All three broadcasters, however, had submitted bids for technical assessment.
For Package A, which constitutes India subcontinent TV, Viacom18’s bid was placed at Rs 2862 crore. For Package B, which includes India subcontinent digital plus world TV and digital, Viacom18’s bid was Rs 3101 crore.
Viacom18, which already has digital rights for the IPL besides both digital and TV rights for the Women’s Premier League, takes over the BCCI media rights from Disney Star.
The package includes 25 Tests, 27 ODIs and 36 T20Is involving 21 versus Australia, 18 against England, 10 with South Africa and 11 versus New Zealand among the major nations.
Disney Star, formerly Star India, had won worldwide rights for the 2018-23 home series for Rs 6138 crore, which included 102 matches.
Considering that the combined base price for the two packages is Rs 45 crore, the final value shows a 50 per cent increase which should be encouraging.
Industry experts have outlined that though the valuation is on expected lines, it is below the IPL benchmark (Rs 48,490 crore for five years, which translates to around Rs 118 crore per game) and signifies the dwindling interest in bilateral series.
With Disney Star not participating in the e-auction, the bidding was limited to Viacom18 and Sony Sports Network. Disney Star's objective has remained unclear since the IPL and ICC media rights. It let go digital in the IPL and bought TV. When the ICC rights came up, it bought TV and digital before relinquishing TV to keep digital.
There has been a lot of uncertainty over Disney Star’s interest in its India business. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Disney was considering the sale of its India business and looking for a partner.
There was, however, no official comment from the company.
Disney Star’s indifference could be because of declining viewership in bilateral series and financial constraints. There has been talk that the US-headquartered company was not keen on investing more funds in cricket.
Sony Pictures Networks India, however, remained committed to their cause. “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the BCCI for a transparent and efficient e-bidding process and to the winners for securing the bilateral media rights. Our disciplined bid was grounded in market forecasts and a long-term growth strategy,” said N.P. Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India.
“We remain committed to delivering top-tier sporting entertainment as we continue to see growing enthusiasm across various sports genres.”
BCCI secretary Jay Shah was ecstatic. “It fills me with immense joy and a profound sense of pride to witness the remarkable growth of brand BCCI.
“Today’s e-auction has propelled BCCI into the upper echelons of per-match media rights valuation, marking a monumental stride in our journey,” Shah said in a release.
“Throughout this process, we have steadfastly upheld the principles of transparency and fairness, ensuring that all stakeholders are treated equitably. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Viacom18...”