An IPL game is now worth a record INR 105 crore (USD 13.44 million) making it - in terms of value per match - the second-most lucrative sporting product in the entire world, behind only the NFL (USD 35.07 million*). This figure may actually rise considering the e-auction for the T20 tournament's media rights, which began on Sunday, continues.
The combined sum bid so far is INR 38,850 crore (USD 4.97 billion) - that is INR 21,090 crore (USD 2.7 billion) for Package A (TV rights for India sub-continent) and INR 17,760 crore (USD 2.27 billion) for Package B (digital for India subcontinent); it is already 2.38 times or 138% higher than the 2018-22 IPL rights deal, bagged by Star India in 2017 for $2.55 billion.
These numbers are based on there being 74 games per season in the next five-year rights cycle starting in 2023. As it stands, the IPL has overtaken the Premier League, whose value per match, as per the 2022-25 rights, is listed at USD 11.34 million**.
Doing away with the process of closed bids, the IPL put its media rights up for sale for the first time through an e-auction. In an e-auction, bids are filed through an online portal managed by an independent company. The highest bids across all categories are flashed on screen - simultaneously and live - but names of the bidders are not disclosed to ensure rivals don't bump up prices.
For this auction, the IPL set a minimum base price for each of the four categories and asked bidders to list their price on a per match basis. For Package A the per match base price is INR 49 crore (USD 6.3 million). For Package B it is INR 33 crore (USD 4.2 million) per match. For Package C it is INR 16 crore (USD 2.05 million) per match. For Package D it is INR 3 crore (USD 390,000).
On Sunday, Packages A and B went up for bidding simultaneously with all the key bidders among final list of seven keenly contesting. The highest bid for Package A on was INR 57 crore (USD 7.29 million) - 16.3% higher than the base price set by IPL. The highest bid for Package B was INR 48 crore (USD 6.14 million), 45.4% higher than the base price.
The combined figure - INR 105 crore - is already 93.6% higher than the per match value in the previous IPL rights deal (INR 54.23 crore).
The bidders - Disney-Star, Sony, Viacom-Reliance, Zee, Fun Asia, Super Sport and Times Internet - will resume the auction on Monday 11 am IST. As per the rules set by IPL, the winner of Package A has the right to compete for the digital rights by locking horns with the highest bidder in Package B. The auction process will continue till one of them drops out. Once the highest bidder for Packages A and B are determined, the auction process for Packages C & D will commence.
All USD values are approximations where 1 USD = 78 INR
* As per a Forbes report based on the NFL rights deal of 2021
** As per a report in the Athletic
Additional reporting by Yash Jha
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo