Ludicrously outrageous’ perhaps best describes the doles that were splurged to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights for the next five years. The baffling bids made by the contenders and the Rs 16,347.50 crore offer that eventually won the rights for Star India speaks about the willingness of big guns to make hay in the name of cricket.
In financial parlance, it does make economic sense as the IPL phenomena enjoys viewership that sounds almost bizarre and attracts spectator turnout of the houseful kind, day in and day out. This indicates that as an industry IPL is the mother of all sports money-spinners that originate in the Sub-Continent.
On that count, the league is head and shoulders above the contemporary cricket spectacles. With Star's bid coming to $2.55 billion, the $287 million that ECB earns annually by way of broadcast rights looks like pittance. Even as Star will be rejoicing the TV and digital coup it has pulledoff, albeit at an enormous cost, it is actually the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that is laughing all the way to the bank. However, the Board managers must remember that the aftershocks will hit them fast, hard and catch them off-guard, thanks to the vicious circle that engulfs the Indian cricket at every level.
A pragmatic arithmetic break-up shows that Star will be coughing up a cool Rs 54.5 crore per each IPL match. This is Rs 11.4 crore more than what the broadcaster has been paying BCCI for every international match hosted on Indian soil.
And that is where the world’s richest sports body is likely to feel the pinch from the cascading spin-offs. For instance, it is the state associations which provide infrastructure and other facilities to host IPL matches.
Quite obviously, they will be expectingproportionately higher revenue from the coming season onwards, which is undeniably a reasonable expectation.The franchise owners, who spend crores during players’ auction, will demand their ounce of flesh from the enhanced central pool. They will have a ready answer to substantiate their argument – players and support staff will be eager for better emoluments.
They don’t need to go by any brand valuation to put forth their pleas. They come within the realms of a healthy give-and-take win-win equation and that’s just about it
At the end of it all, it will be the Indian fan who will be hit the hardest and from quarters that he may not even be aware of. If Star has to earn returns it has to be from the advertiser and more importantly the viewer, the die-hard tax-paying cricket fan whose passion for the sport is such that he will not be found wanting during live telecasts.
Given this backdrop, it is certain that dish and cable subscribers will have to shell out more hereafter as would be Hotstar freaks. IPL is one financial proposition that defies commercial logic, yet remain a safe investment for as long as fans don’t start feeling the pinch.