“We expected the IPL rights to fetch between £45,000 and £50,000,” he said in an interview. “But more importantly we now have two separate winners for the TV rights and the digital rights, which is a first in the history of the league. Also, IPL is now the second largest league with $15.5 million per game average rights.”
Only the National Football League (NFL), a professional American football league, has a higher value per game than IPL at $17 million. Other major sports leagues, the English Premier League (EPL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), are both valued at $11 million per game. However, the NFL hosts 272 games per season,
makes 380 and MLB 162, compared to 74 games in the IPL.
When asked about the aggressive reserve pricing, Shah said BCCI has full confidence in the pricing and it is based on the feedback the board has received from the market.
“There are two new teams that have come in with a $1.9 billion investment,” he said. “We sold all partner slots for IPL last season and opened new categories. The interest is enormous. Also, the number of games in the current cycle has increased from 300 to 410 (over five years).”
Strengthen domestic cricket
DisneyStar won the linear TV rights for the Indian subcontinent and Viacom18 the digital rights.
On the decision to unbundle the rights and introduce a non-exclusive digital package, he said his job is to protect the board’s interests.
“Our process ensured maximum value and pricing. If you look at the TV rights they closed at Rs 57.5 crore per game compared to a reserve price of Rs 49 crore per game while digital went from Rs 33 crore to Rs 50 crore. And the value of Package C has more than doubled to Rs.33.24 crore, from the base price of Rs.16 crore,” he said. “This is also the first time digital rights have gone for a higher amount.”
Shah said the board could do a lot more to improve cricket and cricketers with the money.
“We have already announced an increase of around 100% in the monthly pensions of former cricketers – both male and female – and match officials. Around 900 employees will benefit from this,” he said. “We have also recently approved Rs 60 crore for the development of indoor exercise facilities in the North East. We will open several centers with playing fields with bowling machines, in addition to a gym and swimming pool.”
Additionally, the BCCI plans to use the proceeds of the auction to strengthen domestic cricket from grassroots level, develop infrastructure and beautify facilities across India, apart from enhancing the cricket experience.
The BCCI also has big plans for female IPL.
“That is very important to me. We will start the Women’s IPL 2023 with five to six new teams. We will go out very soon with a new tender and everyone will have the opportunity to choose teams,” he said.
The board hopes to attract international players to the league.
“We’ve also revamped the women’s U16 and U19 programs and we’re sure we’ll get a good chunk of talent from there,” said Shah.
The BCCI is also in talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other international bodies to get a bigger window for the IPL, he said.
“We have been in talks with the ICC and other international bodies to get a larger window of opportunity,” Shah said. “However, we also have to look at the growth of world cricket, which is why the Indian team will travel to Ireland ahead of England next.”
Shah said there is a lot of interest in media rights for bilateral relations in India
“You can see the crowded stadiums in the games in progress. While in IPL you see marquee players divided into 10 teams, here they are all in one team,” Shah said. “I am 100% confident that I will also sell the rights to the Indian cricket at a much higher value. We will start the process soon, in a similar way, with great transparency.”