In early September, Star India Pvt. Ltd. (Star) – the South Asian member of Rupert Murdoch’s global broadcasting network – acquired the consolidated global television and digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a five-year period (2018-2022). The IPL is a Twenty20 (T20) cricket league promoted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the national governing body for cricket in India. At $ 2.55 billion, this deal represents the biggest media rights purchase in cricket history by some distance.
The media rights sale process and its outcome were witnessed with great interest both in India and across the sporting and broadcast world. The resulting media rights valuation caps a tremendous decade for the IPL, which has been the subject of commendation and condemnation in equal measure for events that have occurred both on and off the field. Though opinions are divided on the IPL’s qualitative contribution to cricket, what is more unitary and undebatable is the sheer impact it has had on Indian and world sport. It has affected player movement and commitments, raised player incomes, carved out a place for itself on the complex annual cricket calendar and inspired a number of ‘me-too’ cricket and non-cricket franchise-based leagues in India and internationally.
This article provides a brief introduction to the IPL’s history and structure, the noteworthy aspects of the tender and media rights sale process, and the foreseeable implications of the results on the wide variety of stakeholders that are likely to be impacted.