IPL done, ICC tender soon with a strategic change
ICC media rights tender is unlikely to be as aggressively priced as IPL, but they too are aware of the pitfalls of long-term contracts
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has got a resounding response from the broadcasters in its latest round of media rights sale, one worth ₹48,390 crore that will ensure a growth trajectory for the next five years. The next throwing card will come from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as cricket continues to jostle for media rights revenue.
It is learnt the ICC’s tender document is set to hit to market very soon and while it will not be as aggressively priced as IPL’s, a key learning in the draft will be to look at Indian sub-continent media rights from a relatively short-term perspective.
“What they are looking to do is discourage media companies from bidding for eight years,” said an industry executive on condition of anonymity. “The document will be structured in such a way that you can acquire the rights at a much fairer value if you put in a four-year bid. Media houses would prefer to lock the value for eight years but for that ICC is likely to ask for doubling the first four-year value in the second four-year leg. So, if the top bid for four years is 10, your eight -year bid would have to be 30 to win an eight-year deal.”
Traditionally, the ICC events work in eight-year cycles. The future tours program is also structured for such a time span. The 2024-31 ICC events are already in place with one event scheduled every year (4 T20 World Cups and 2 editions of ODI World Cups and Champions trophy). Disney Star pays the ICC around US$ 2 billion in the current 2016-23 events cycle.
One understands 80 percent of this revenue comes from the Indian sub-continent rights. Indian eyeballs are key for the success of ICC events. “The market trends are evolving so quickly, and India is moving at a rapid pace from TV to digital. The IPL rights are a case in point,” said another industry insider. “The ICC could have made a lot more if their previous eight-year rights cycle was broken in two halves.”
In the next four years, the ICC has the 2024 T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in West Indies/USA, the 2025 Champions trophy in Pakistan, 2026 T20 WC in India/Sri Lanka and the 2027 ODI WC in the African continent.
For the record, ICC Chairman Greg Barclay says they are offering ‘a degree of optionality to the bidders’.
“The bidders have got some latitude as to how they might approach the bidding. We don’t have a hard and fast view (rights-tenure). That’s the beauty of optionality. Everyone can put their best foot forward and we get the chance to choose based on what might come out of it to what we think might be best for global cricket and the members. They can segment it across properties, across territories and have a look at what might be best for them,” he said, last month.
While the ICC Chairman speaks of the best interests of all members, the smaller cricket boards dependent on ICC revenue prefer eight-year rights which allows them long-term revenue guarantee. But ICC can ill-afford to overlook the changing dynamics of the broadcast market in India. Disney Star who dropped out of the highly priced digital bidding wars for IPL have expressed interest to go for multiplatform ICC rights.
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