With the likes of Amazon, Reliance Jio, Twitter and Facebook all showing an interest in the digital rights for the IPL, experts feel digital rights would see a sharp increase in value, amounting to nearly 15 per cent of the television rights' value.
TV rights are expected to reach in excess of Rs 16,000 crore for a period of 10 years or Rs 1,600 crore per year, according to industry sources. This is double the amount paid by Sony Pictures Network for the TV rights in 2008.
This would mean that digital rights would be around Rs 1200 crore for a period of 5 years or Rs 240 crore per year. Star India had acquired the digital rights for 2015-2017 period for just over Rs 100 crore per year. This year, the BCCI is offering digital rights for a period of 5 years as opposed to 3 years.
The most interesting facet is that tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, along with Reliance Jio have also bought the ITT documents. Live streaming of sports has become a major focus area for many of the tech companies. Twitter has tied up with the NFL in the US to live stream its Thursday night football. In India, Twitter works closely with broadcasters for a number of sporting events though it does not have any live streaming partnerships yet. Twitter had not replied to our queries at the time of writing of the article but in an earlier interview, a Twitter spokesperson had acknowledged that live sporting events was a key area for Twitter.
Similarily, Facebook was the digital live streaming partner for the recently concluded Premier Futsal; which saw all the matches streaming on Facebook Live, the company's live streaming platform. Like Twitter, Facebook has also been actively working with broadcasters and team franchises when it comes to sporting events in India and across the globe.
Saurabh Doshi, Head of Media Partnerships at Facebook, agreed that sports were a major focus area for Facebook. He pointed out that Facebook Live had been growing in popularity recently, though he would not give further details on how Facebook planned to broadcast IPL matches if they won the rights.
"There are some really big names in the list. Amazon has also been getting into sports content globally. You can expect a fairly high value for the digital rights on the back of the huge tech companies showing interest and the benchmarking of digital and TV ad rights," said Arvind Iyengar, CEO of Sportz Interactive.