Days after the BCCI bagged a whopping amount of over Rs 48,000 crore for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights for the 2023-27 cycle, former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, in an exclusive interview to NDTV, said the IPL will become the No. 1 sports league in the world. The former chairman of the franchise cricket league added that he believes that IPL media rights valuation will double again in the next cycle.
“It is the fan base that has done it (increase IPL’s valuation). I have always said that in three or four years it will double. The price of IPL will continue to double. If you look at all my interviews from 2008, I said that IPL value will double in terms of media rights. It has gone up by 98 per cent from the last cycle. From the last cycle to this cycle is 98 per cent and I am telling you going forward in the next cycle, it will double again,” Modi said.
“It will definitely overtake and I have always said IPL will become No. 1 sports league sooner than later. It all depends on the innovation for the OTT platforms, the digital rights. If we are able to do our act right in digital, you will see digital overtaking television in terms of viewership and in terms of revenue. I think the digital rights will go three-four times of television in the next five years. That is if we get our act right. Money should be spent on technology on the digital platforms. The feel has to change. New technologies will bring user experience to a better level. Right now we are not doing it. BCCI needs to put in the money.”
Modi added that his prediction that IPL is recession proof has come true. “The viewership is now probably highest in the world in terms of number of people watching and the eye balls getting attracted to the game. I have always maintained, and everybody laughed at me, that IPL is recession proof. It really is coming out to be true that is recession proof as far as India is concerned. We have got newer and newer fan bases that are joining in. But we have to be careful going forward. Because the younger age group is mostly on digital, that is why the digital rights have gone up tremendously in price but their experience has not been so good in India today as far as watching it on a particular platform,” Modi told NDTV.
“The Jio platform that has it, is not very user-friendly at the current moment. When you turn the phone around from horizontal to vertical, it doesn’t capture that…that loses the faith in the fans.”
Modi was the first chairman and commissioner of the IPL. He was instrumental in running the league from 2008 till 2010. He was also a vice-president of the BCCI from 2005–10.
The former cricket administrator added that the infrastructure needs to be improved in the Indian cricket stadiums. “The IPL has contributed Rs 100,000 crore to the BCCI in total. Rs 58,000 crore last eight years alone. Fifty per cent of the money remains with the BCCI, fifty per cent is shared with the IPL franchises. What has BCCI done to upgrade the infrastructure? You look at Kotla. They should demolish Kotla. They should most of the stadiums and build fresh. You can put world class infrastructure in, air-condition, good toilet, good hygienic eating places, good viewer experience, car parks. You need to put that money in in order to build world-class stadium,” he said.
Modi left India in 2010 amid allegations of tax evasion, money-laundering and proxy ownership and is based in London since the last few years. The BCCI has suspended him in 2010 following allegations of financial irregularity and then in 2013, Modi was banned for life by the cricket governing body.
“It (IPL) has really been able to do that (clean-up act). It’s moving up in the right direction with the Gujarat Titans performing tremendously in the first season from scratch. That has shown that there is faith now in the game. There is no fixing any more and that it has taken a new turn,” he added.
At the IPL media rights e-auction Disney Star retained the TV telecast rights with a bid price of Rs 23,575 crore. “I am thrilled to announce that STAR INDIA wins India TV rights with their bid of Rs 23,575 crores. The bid is a direct testimony to the BCCI’s organizational capabilities despite two pandemic years,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote in a tweet.
“Viacom18 bags digital rights with its winning bid of Rs 23,758 cr. India has seen a digital revolution & the sector has endless potential. The digital landscape has changed the way cricket is watched. It has been a big factor in the growth of the game & the Digital India vision,” Shah confirmed in another tweet.
Reliance’s Viacom18, won the rights for package C with a Rs 3,258 crore winning bid. As a result of this, Viacom, who also won the rights for Package B with a pay out of Rs 20,500 crore (Rs 50 crore per match for 410 matches), ended up paying Rs 23,758 crore for the entire bouquet of digital rights.
The Package D, which included rights for the Rest of the world, was won for a bid of Rs 1058 crore.
In the end it was the BCCI that laughed its way to the bank, raking in a total sum of Rs 48,390 crore for the packages A, B, C and D.
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