IPL will have 2.5-month window in next ICC FTP calendar: BCCI Secretary Jay Shah
The BCCI Secretary also said that the bidding war for digital rights under Package B and C is testimony to the growth of cricket consumption on digital
The Indian Premier League (IPL) will have an official 2.5-month window in the next Future Tours Programme (FTP) of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah has told newswire PTI.
"Let me inform you that from the next ICC FTP calendar, IPL will have an official two-and-a-half-month window so that all the top international cricketers can participate. We have had discussions with various boards as well as the ICC," said Shah.
Shah is also elated about the kind of response that the IPL media rights e-auction witnessed. The IPL media rights have been sold to Disney Star India, Viacom18, and Times Internet for a whopping Rs 48,390 crore.
"The auction was always going to be exciting for every stakeholder. We have been able to realise the true value and the numbers in front of you are a testimony to that. These numbers show the potential of the Indian economy and the faith of investors in new India," he stated.
The BCCI Secretary also said that the bidding war for digital rights under Package B and C is testimony to the growth of cricket consumption on digital. "The digital India push has changed the way cricket is watched in India. So the bid outcome of digital rights bears testimony to that," Shah noted.
Answering a question about the stiff base price set by the BCCI, Shah said that the base price wasn't high considering the growth in the number of games in the 2023-27 rights cycle. Another reason for setting an aggressive base price was the growth in the number of digital viewers.
"You need to understand that in 2018, it was for 60 games. For the next cycle, we will have 410 games, with 74 games each in the first two seasons and then 84 games in the next, and finally 94 in the 2027 edition. You also need to check the digital numbers -- there were approximately 560 million digital viewers in 2017 and 665 million in 2021."
Shah said that the number of internet users in India is expected to touch 900 million by 2024 which will fuel content consumption on digital platforms. "Obviously linear viewership (TV) will remain but there is a transition towards digital viewership and that's how you realise the value."
Explaining the rationale behind the Package C rights, Shah said that the BCCI's aim was to ensure maximum participation, maximum value, and better price discovery. "So if someone is winning A and B, they need to shell out more for buying Package C. It is as simple as that. This is called better price discovery. I think the manner in which we pulled off the e-auction was the most transparent one," he elaborated.
On the speculation about splitting the IPL season into two halves, Shah said that the BCCI is having discussions with various stakeholders. "There are also multiple proposals for all the IPL franchises of playing friendlies overseas. That idea is being seriously contemplated but for that, we also need to speak to other boards as we would need to know the schedule of international players."
Responding to a question about the dip in IPL's TV viewership, Shah said that the viewership hasn't dipped as it is not fair to compare the IPL 2022 season with the 2021 or 2020 seasons. "You have to factor in pre-COVID and post-COVID numbers. The 2020 and 2021 IPL viewership numbers skyrocketed because cricket was the only source of live sporting entertainment for the Indian public. People were unable to venture out due to COVID-19. So the figures saw a sharp rise. Now in 2022, the same public after the return of a certain amount of normalcy is venturing out. People are socialising, going out for dinners, taking vacations which they didn't do in the last two years," he explained.
He also pointed out that the out-of-home viewership for IPL games, which is a sizeable portion of the overall viewership, is not getting measured adequately. "Also, when you calculate viewership, this year, during evening games, you would have hundreds watching it on TV while sitting in a pub or a restaurant. So there are hundreds of fans watching an IPL match on one DTH (Direct To Home) connection. Therefore, if you calculate viewership numbers, I would want you to calculate on the basis of 2019 viewership numbers vis-a-vis 2022."
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