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BCCI plans change in broadcasting rights strategy for bilateral cricket

With T20 leagues mushrooming around the world, waning interest in ODIs and shrinking length of the Test calendar, there was a feeling that the game would take a pivotal turn in 2022 when major cricket broadcasting rights were up for renewal. The recently concluded ICC media rights value ($3billion for 4 years) and the IPL rights package going for ($6 billion for 5 years) however showed the market has lapped up all cricket on the plate, international as well as franchise.

This may give the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hope that its bilateral broadcasting rights—India’s international matches at home—that come up for renewal in 2023 will also see a similar growth. The market players already know what’s on offer. As per the future tours program (FTP), India would be playing 20 Tests, 21 ODIs and 31 T20Is at home in the next four years (2023-27).

A BCCI official confirmed this was more-or-less what the Board would offer as it looks to cut the rights cycle period by a year— from five to four—in tune with the ICC rights cycle. “Going ahead, we are thinking of positioning the BCCI rights first, then the IPL,” an official said.

The sequence matters as it dictates the strategy of individual broadcasters and BCCI officials believe while the IPL will continue to grow organically, BCCI’s bilateral rights could benefit from being first in the queue.

Sony-Zee, who missed out on both IPL and the ICC rights, are expected to be keen on BCCI’s bilateral matches. “Viacom 18 also hasn’t got any India cricket to show for its recently launched TV channel. They could also be interested,” an industry executive said. Disney Star may still want to consider BCCI rights to boost its digital platform Hotstar. As ICC’s Chief Commercial Officer Anurag Dahiya recently said, “The broadcasters need all the marquee cricket and the supporting programming for their calendar.”

It can be confirmed that Disney Star’s $3 billion bid wasn’t just head and shoulders above others but the only one not in the range of the asking price of $1.4 billion. Clearly, Star wanted the rights badly, others didn’t see the same value in them. ICC though disagrees that Star has overpaid. Hindustan Times

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