The much-delayed IPL media-rights bidding has been rescheduled for September 4 in Mumbai. A total of 24 companies, both from India and overseas, have bought the bid document for the rights which the BCCI decided in May would be sold for the next five years (2018-22) across media platforms (broadcast and digital).
The massive appeal for IPL, which completed its tenth season this year, can be gauged from the 24-strong list of bidders, which comprises digital behemoths Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Yahoo and Reliance Jio in addition to established television networks Star India, Sony Pictures, Discovery and the UK-based networks Sky and BT. ESPN Digital Media was also on the list*.
The BCCI has split the media rights into three categories: television rights for the Indian subcontinent, digital rights, and overseas media rights (television and digital). All three rights last for five years, from 2018 to 2022.
The previous broadcasting rights of the IPL were held by Sony Pictures Network India, while Star India owned the digital rights. Both those rights expired after the 2017 IPL.
Last September the BCCI had decided to sell the rights for the next cycle through an open-tender process. A total of 18 companies entered the fray as the bids were scheduled to be opened on October 25 last year.
However, the intervention from the Supreme Court on October 21 last year forced the BCCI to postpone things. The process was put back on track after the court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) gave the nod for the bidding to open on July 17.
In 2008, the Singapore-based World Sports Group bagged the IPL television rights for a ten-year period with a $918 million bid. It simultaneously signed a deal with Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. (MSM) that Sony would be the official broadcaster. The contract was recast before IPL 2009, with MSM agreeing to pay $1.63 billion for nine years.
*ESPNcricinfo is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN Inc, the world's leading multimedia sports entertainment company.