The bidding for the television and digital rights to broadcast Indian cricket from 2018 to 2023 is closing in on the billion-dollar mark, and the e-auction will enter a third day and resume at 11am IST on Thursday.
The bid value had reached INR 6032.50 crore (USD 925 million approx) by 6pm on Wednesday - the second day of the e-auction - in the Global Consolidated Rights (GCR) category, which includes worldwide television and digital rights. The figure has already passed the previous cycle's winning bid of INR 3851 crores (USD $750m approx. at the time) by 56.6%.
As things stand, the average cost per match for the Indian cricket rights is about INR 59 cr, which is higher than the average cost per IPL game for the 2018-22 period - INR 54.5 cr - when Star India bought the rights in September 2017.
The first day of the auction had ended at 6pm on Tuesday, with the highest bid at INR 4442 crores (USD 680 million approx.). On Wednesday, the bids that were made public were of INR 4517.25 cr, 4565.20 cr, 5488.30 cr, 5748 cr, 6001 cr, 6003.09 cr and 6032.50 crore.
Once the process began on Tuesday, participants had an hour to raise after every bid, making the e-auction a multi-day process because proceedings could not go beyond 6pm IST on each day. The process will continue until the participants notify that they do not wish to bid higher.
The bidders were narrowed down from six to three - Sony Pictures Network India, Star India and Reliance - after the BCCI's legal team carried out technical and feasibility checks before the e-auction began. There were three categories of rights on sale: the Indian television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and the global consolidated rights (GCR) comprising worldwide TV and digital rights.
The successful bidder will get to telecast 102 men's international matches over the five-year period compared to 96 in the previous six-year cycle from 2012 to 2018. The 102 matches will be split among the home seasons as follows: 18 in 2018-19, 26 in 2019-20, 14 in 2020-21, 23 in 2021-22 and 21 in 2022-23. The rights will also include men's domestic matches as well as the India women's international matches.
In 2012, Star TV, then owned by Rupert Murdoch, had won the rights to broadcast Indian cricket until 2018. That deal, which also included internet and mobile rights, was valued at INR 3851 cr (approximately USD 750 million at the time). The other bidder that year - at INR 3700 cr (USD 727 million at the time) - was Multi-Screen Media (Sony).
The sale of these rights will mean a second huge payday for the BCCI in less than a year. In September 2017, the BCCI had sold the worldwide IPL television and digital rights for the period 2018-22 for INR 16,347.5 cr (US$ 2.55 billion) to Star India.