Disney Star, Viacom 18, Zee among potential bidders for WIPL media rights
The BCCI has adopted a closed bid auction method, and will announce the winners on Monday
All the major Indian broadcasters, including Disney Star*, Viacom 18, Sony and Zee, will be bidding for the Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL) media rights at an auction on Monday. The BCCI has adopted a closed bid auction method for the day-long event, and will announce the winner on the same day.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that eight potential bidders had bought the tender document which was put on sale in December. The rights, spanning a five-year period between 2023-27, comprised three categories: linear (TV), digital and combined (TV and digital). The rights will be sold globally, including India.
The BCCI has also decided not to set a base price as it wants the market to determine its value considering the WIPL is untapped territory. This is in contrast to the process it adopted when it sold the media rights for the men's IPL last year for a record net sum of close to US$ 6 billion. Those rights were split across multiple categories and regions and were fiercely contested by multiple players with the auction exercise stretching for three days.
The WIPL media rights are significant because they constitute the majority of the central commercial pool from which the five franchises will get 80% of their revenue. In the tender document for franchise rights, the BCCI has mentioned that it would share 80% of the commercial rights income it derives from WIPL with the teams in the first five years, 60% in the following five years, and 50% after that. In addition, the franchises will also get 80% of the money derived from the central licensing rights.
Having conducted the Women's T20 Challenge initially as an exhibition event, the BCCI last year finally decided to launch the WIPL with its inaugural edition set to be played in March. While the BCCI has not yet announced the tournament dates, it is understood that the first season, spanning 22 matches, is likely to be played between March 5 and 23.
The BCCI will unveil the five WIPL franchises on January 25. The financial bids of these franchises, currently submitted in sealed envelopes, will be opened on that day. The BCCI has listed 10 cities in the bid document. So far, at least eight of the 10 men's IPL franchises have confirmed they would be bidding for a franchise.
*ESPNcricinfo and Disney Star are part of the Walt Disney Company
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo