Expectations for the upcoming IPL media rights tender for the next five years (2023-27) were heightened after the Indian Cricket Control Board raised RUR 12,715 crores from the sale of two new franchises. Interestingly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also expected to hit the market with its events (2024–31) early next year.
Since ICC’s media rights are highly dependent on the Indian market, a large churn in this area can be expected in the coming months. Star India currently owns the rights to both of these properties (IPL: Rs.16,348 crores over 5 years, ICC events: US $ 1.9 billion over 8 years). But one entity holding both properties is highly unlikely given the premium both of these properties are likely to come with.
Wouldn’t one eat the other? Does ICC lower expectations?
“No, I don’t think so,” said Jeff Allardis, acting CEO of ICC, to select media outlets. “Cricket is a very popular property in the Indian market and ICC events are very close to the top of the pie. If we talk about our discussions with broadcasters, the interest in obtaining ICC rights is very high. “
ICC continues to count on the popularity and prestige associated with the World Cup. This is one of the reasons the next eligibility cycle will include two additional events, which will mean one ICC event each year (two ODI WC events, four T20 events and two champion trophies). “The annual event certainly helps our commercial and broadcast partners. This gives them the opportunity to increase their investments on an annual basis, ”Allardis said.
Is there a chance of overcrowding or audience fatigue from major ICC events?
“I don’t think quality global tournaments are played out too often. The T20 Cricket World Cup every two years is right. We have defined this format for the development of the international game, and this goes hand in hand with the increase in the number of teams, ”said Allardis. There are 16 teams playing in the current T20 World Championship. Starting from the 2024 season, it will include up to 20 teams.
There have been several discussions in the ICC regarding entering the Indian market for the first time with a four-year proposal to ensure that the end of the eight-year right cycle is not underestimated. They don’t say so yet. “In terms of the duration of the partnership, we are still working on the details of this and the various options,” Allardis said.
The next big war for rights: digital
In the current cycle of IPL and ICC rights, Star India also owns digital and television rights. But with the growing demand for digital platforms, individual digital numbers could skyrocket. Facebook (now Meta) was unsuccessfully offering Rs 3900 crores for the last IPL rights cycle. With Reliance, Amazon, and others looking to jump into the fray, expect dramatic changes in this scene.
“There is a real shift in the market in terms of the interests and types of companies that are interested in obtaining rights. You are also seeing a slight shift from traditional broadcasters to large digital companies. I think now is a very good time to be in the market, ”Allardis said.
WTC format setting is unlikely
The fourth ICC event in the next rights calendar is the World Testing Championship Finals, which is the culmination of a two-year test cricket cycle. Although the format and distribution of the series is uneven and far from ideal, ICC states that this is by far the best formula they can offer. “At this stage, the limiting factor is the number of teams that we can fit in two years. At first we tried to fit eight episodes in two years, and it was too overwhelmed. We stopped at six. At this stage, it looks like a (continuation of) a nine-team release, ”he said.
The ICC also made it clear that India and Pakistan have no prospect of facing off against each other in the WTC unless the two teams make it to the finals. “If both make it to the final, they will play each other on a neutral court. It’s just a pragmatic approach to separate them and let the competition function, ”Allardis said.