Bigger coffers through IPL, higher pension to ex-players

On the day the IPL media rights bidding war secured nearly Rs 45,000 crore (and counting) to BCCI’s coffers over the next five years, the Cricket Board turned to the country’s former cricketers and referees, giving their monthly pensions a significant increase. As of June 1, the current monthly pensions of Rs 15,000, Rs 22,500, Rs 30,000, Rs 37,500 and Rs 50,000 have been adjusted to Rs 30,000, Rs 45,000, Rs 52,500, Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000.

The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry confirmed this through a press release, with its Chairman Sourav Ganguly saying: “The players remain the lifeblood, and it is our duty, as a board of directors, to be by their side once their playing days are over.” Minister Jay Shah added: “The welfare of our cricketers, whether past or present, is a top priority, and increasing pension amounts is a step in that direction.”

Jay Shah.  , BCCI, IPL, IPL 2022, BCCI, IPL media rights, Jay Shah, Jay Shah interview, BCCI media rights, the world's most expensive and most lucrative sports league Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary Jay Shah said that even if the rights had gone at the base price, the valuation of the biggest cricket tournament would have taken a huge leap. (a file)

The gesture was welcomed by Diana Idolji, former Indian women’s team captain. “I thank BCCI for this wonderful gift of increasing pensions across the board. It will help a number of players in their Twilight Zone,” she told the Indian Express. “It is a wonderful gesture from the Indian Board of Directors. Former India captain Dilip Vengarkar said this would really help the players, especially those who played in the 60s and 70s.

A total of about 900 individuals will benefit from this decision.
Turning to the IPL media rights auction, the highlight so far has been the massive growth in the value of digital rights. On the second day of the online auction, Package B dealing with digital rights in the Indian subcontinent was taken at Rs 50 crore per game, resulting in a 51.5 per cent increase over the base price of Rs 33 crore per match, even after Amazon pulled out. Package A, the TV rights for the Indian subcontinent, was parked at Rs 57.5 crore per game, an increase of 17.3 per cent over its base price of Rs 49 crore. It is likely that for the first time, the IPL will have different broadcasters for digital television and broadcasting in India.


As expected, the T20 League’s online auction is going on like a test match, with Package C – a special 18-match package, with non-exclusive digital rights to the Indian subcontinent – on the table, entering the third round on auction day on Tuesday. Package D, Universal Television and Digital Rights, will follow. Until the auction ends, the winners will not be officially announced, but the combined value of TV and digital rights has already fetched the cricket board at Rs 107.5 crore per game and Rs 44,075 crore for the 2023-2027 cycle. Five years ago, Star India secured the rights to the 2018-2022 cycle, with a composite bid of Rs 16,347.5 crore. Even taking into account the addition of two new teams and the increase in the number of matches from 60 to 74, this is a huge leap.

The first day of the week started with the stock market crash which was said to have eroded nearly Rs 7 crore from investors’ wealth. But the IPL, seemingly insulated from domestic market volatility, inflationary fears and possibly even a recession, bucked the trend. The increase in the value of digital rights has always been a contributing factor to this, which is the reason BCCI decided to phase out the term composite bidding.

It is widely accepted that Hotstar (Disney-Star digital platform) has changed the way cricket is watched in India, bringing the game into the pockets of mobile consumers. According to reports, in 2018, 22 percent of IPL viewers in the country watched matches on Hotstar. Four years later, the Eliminator between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Super Giants recorded 8.7 million concurrent viewers on the streaming platform in a single stage. Thirty percent of Hotstar’s global revenue comes from India and from the company’s point of view, it would be ironic if it lost out to Viacom18/Reliance or any of its competitors this year.

stagnation resistant

In 2008, during the inaugural season of the IPL, tournament media rights per game were valued at Rs 13.6 crore. In 2018, it rose to Rs 54.5 crore and this time it actually reached Rs 107.5 crore, with the online auction going into his home extension. No other sector in India has seen such a rapid rise over the past fifteen years. What is astonishing is the fact that at $13.7 million (converted to US dollars) per game right now, it has comfortably outperformed the Premier League, with broadcasters paying around $11 million per game. To some extent, this defies logic, given the global popularity of football, while cricket is played seriously in only 10 countries.

The franchisor praised IPL as a producer but at the same time, talked about the challenge broadcasters will face to get the money back. But the potential increase in the team’s portfolio, thanks to a nearly threefold increase in the value of the IPL’s media rights, presents a more relevant point. “The team’s portfolio is set at Rs 90 crore, Rs 95 crore and Rs 100 crore for the years 2022, 2023 and 2024 respectively. But I think they will have to increase it (after this windfall), the CEO of a successful chain told The Indian Express, adding His tongue: “The players will not be silent.”

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This time around, BCCI has set the combined base price at Rs 32,890 crore for the five-year cycle, despite bidding on a per-game basis. Already, the value of the IPL’s media rights is 143 percent higher than the previous rights deal and digital rights played a huge role in that. Incidentally, Facebook has been the highest bidder in the digital rights sector for five years now, bidding at Rs 3,900 crore, amounting to around Rs 13 crore per game. But more importantly, as the revised pension scheme has shown, IPL funds contribute positively to the overall well-being of Indian cricket.

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