Rs 30,000 crore—Will IPL media rights bid cross the magic number?

Competitive intensity, expansion of the tournament through two new teams, and the fact that it is the only profitable sports property will be key factors that will determine the value

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Sep 21, 2021 8:14 AM  | 12 min read
IPL

The upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights auction has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster event. Indications are that the IPL media rights value for the next five-year cycle will reach a stratospheric level. The Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) is eyeing record revenue from the auction of IPL media rights towards the end of this year or early next year.

Some of the key factors that will determine the final value of the media rights include the competitive intensity, thanks to the entry of new players (Viacom18 and Amazon), expansion of the tournament through two new teams, and the fact that it is the only profitable sports property.

According to industry watchers, Star India earned an estimated Rs 2500 crore from IPL 2018 from ad and subscription across TV and digital. That figure will almost double to Rs 5200-5300 crore for IPL 2021. The ad revenue has been the biggest contributor to this growth. Star is widely expected to break even on its Rs 16,000+ crore investment on IPL and might end up with a small profit.

The value of the next five-year cycle of IPL media rights is projected to be anywhere between Rs 24,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore depending on the bidding frenzy. Experts feel that Star India, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), and Viacom18 with the backing of Reliance Industries are the three main contenders for the rights. Amazon, which has gone big on live sports globally, is also considering putting up a serious bid for IPL.

While the upcoming IPL media rights auction has success written all over it, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to come up with a well-thought-out plan to squeeze the maximum value from the property. For one, the BCCI will have to decide on the likely format that the IPL will follow from 2023. The increase in the number of matches due to the addition of two new teams has the potential to make or mar the success of the IPL media rights auction. While it will help BCCI earn more due to the increase in the number of games, broadcasters are wary of viewer fatigue which will disrupt all their calculations.

With the BCCI expected to follow a round-robin format involving 10 teams, the number of matches will jump by almost 50% to 94. Last time around, when the IPL was expanded to 10 teams and the number of matches increased to 74, there was a drop in viewership due to the presence of a lot of double-headers. The afternoon matches generally attract less viewership than the evening prime-time games.

Triplecom Media Founder and CEO Kunal Dasgupta says that the round-robin format wherein each team plays the other twice has worked well for the tournament. He further stated that the BCCI should consider splitting the IPL into two parts like it is happening this year albeit due to Covid-19.

"IPL media rights are valuable and will continue to be valuable but the biggest issue right now is that they are adding two new teams and the last time they added two new teams and the number of matches went up, the ratings fell. It won't be as lucrative if that happens because there is viewer fatigue if the tournament is too long," he asserted.

Dasgupta also opines that dividing teams into two groups will help reduce the number of matches to 74 but it will also kill the excitement of the tournament. "I don't think dividing 10 teams into two groups is exciting because some players or teams may not play each other at all. I would prefer to go for the full 94 matches but like it happened this year by accident due to Covid-19, I would like to see them break IPL into two seasons. 47 matches in March-April and the balance 47 matches in September. Then the value will shoot up like anything. The BCCI will be smart if they think of it this way," he avers.

He also suggests that the BCCI should consider splitting TV and digital rights and giving them to different parties rather than giving consolidated rights to a single party. He noted that splitting the TV and digital rights is necessary if the BCCI wants to avoid even a distinct possibility of IPL going off the TV in case a digital player walks away with the consolidated rights.

"The IPL media rights will be hotly contested but if it goes off the TV by any chance because some online bidder has made a bigger bid then that will be a huge loss for BCCI. If IPL is not on TV for five years then that will be tantamount to killing it," Dasgupta stated. "To overcome such a situation, the BCCI should segregate TV and digital rights, otherwise, the true value of both the rights will not get discovered. Some digital players might want to spend a lot but they don't have broadcast. By forcing someone to take both TV and digital rights is like creating a situation where the monetisation will become difficult and unmanageable for any one company."

The veteran media executive also says that the IPL media rights might jump to Rs 24,000 crore over the current value of Rs 16,347.5 crore just based on a 50% increase in matches. "I am expecting that against the Rs 16,000 crore that Star bid, simply by 50% increase in matches, it goes up to Rs 24,000 crore. I don't think a single company can bid that much on its own. And this doesn't factor in the bidding intensity. To get an increase, BCCI will have to split it in such a way that the base price for TV is Rs 16,000 crore and for digital it should be Rs 10,000 crore," Dasgupta notes.

A senior media executive, on condition of anonymity, says that the IPL's biggest draw is that it has been a profitable property for both Sony and Star. When Star acquired the IPL media rights for a whopping Rs 16,347.5 crore, it was widely believed that the broadcaster will not be able to recoup its investment let alone make a profit. Four years down the line, the broadcaster has proven naysayers wrong.

"IPL will certainly see an increase because it is a profitable property and also the number of games is going up. It needs to be seen if more evening games go up or will it be more doubleheaders. If it's the latter, then it makes it much more difficult. The other crucial part is what comes first, IPL or ICC. If ICC rights come up before IPL then ICC will do well. If ICC comes after IPL or BCCI then it will be much more difficult for it to make that sort of money because ICC is a loss-making property. When the bids for ICC had happened in 2015, the New Tariff Order (NTO) was not there so the view was that there will be enough and more distribution revenue coming in. ICC as a property got jacked because of underwhelming subscription monetisation. BCCI media rights are good to have because of the spread of matches," the executive says.

He also says that the IPL media rights value will be Rs 25,000 crore at the minimum level. It has the potential to touch Rs 40,000 crore since it is a great property from monetisation point of view. "Star is paying Rs 16,347.5 crore based on 60 matches. The next season will be at least 94 games because two teams are being added. On a like-to-like basis, the 94 match format itself will fetch Rs 25,000 crore to the BCCI. The fact that Star made money on it, even on that basis, the IPL media rights value will cross Rs 35,000-40,000 crore."

Concurring with Dasgupta, the executive says that splitting IPL into two parts will be the best decision in the larger interest of the league. "If BCCI tries to squeeze the expanded IPL into the same number of days which means that there are more afternoon games, then the value will drop. If the BCCI does it slightly differently and they were to increase the number of days, keeping the percentage of games the same, then it can still have a very different play. Splitting IPL into two will be a game-changer with the first half taking place in March-April and the other half being held in September-October. But it needs to be seen if ICC will allow that because all the ICC tournaments are scheduled in October from 2024 onwards."

According to a source in the ICC, the BCCI will have to tread carefully as far as scheduling of the IPL is concerned since the window to accommodate so many games is not there. "The value of the IPL rights will be determined based on the format, the competitive intensity, and how each of the interested parties looks at the property. If the current format is applied to 10 teams then the matches go up to 94 which is an over 50% increase in the number of games. The last time when the IPL was played with 10 teams, there was a drop in viewership. Plus, it will be difficult to accommodate an expanded IPL in the FTP," he adds.

The source also says that Reliance, Amazon, or Facebook will have a different outlook towards IPL compared to a Star or a Sony. "Currently, there are four serious contenders for IPL media rights, Star and Sony, who have experience in monetising the property besides Reliance-backed Viacom18 and Amazon. Facebook's entry cannot be ruled out. However, IPL requires a substantial investment and it needs to be seen how far these players are willing to go to acquire it. That said, for first-time players like Reliance and Amazon, the IPL investment will be like a new business investment and they might not look at it from a purely profit/loss point of view. For Amazon, IPL will be used to grow its Prime subscription business and the e-commerce business. Reliance will try to use IPL for its telecom business, which is all about data consumption."

ITW Consulting MD Bhairav Shanth says that IPL has the potential to become one of the costliest properties on a per-game basis if the media rights value were to double. "If the media rights value jumps about 100% in the next cycle from what it was when Star acquired it, IPL becomes the most expensive broadcast rights per game and it will beat the NFL on a per-game basis. Today, IPL is fifth most expensive on a per match basis. Now, if the NFL has a certain value and IPL beats it then where is the commerce?" he states.

He also feels that the IPL rights holder will have to look at new revenue streams to make it viable. "I don't know how anyone will make a business out of it - the ad rates required to recoup such monies would have to be impossibly high. It can be a portfolio hold if I am a big company and I can absorb losses. If someone wants to make a profit then it will not happen at that level unless something changes drastically. If AR/VR kicks off and a new revenue stream comes then that will be a different game. The Rs 40,000-50,000 crore that people are guessing will not happen unless there are new revenue streams."

Shanth feels that sports broadcasters are already reeling under losses and will not have the appetite to absorb more losses. Moreover, the sports broadcasters will also need a portfolio of properties to build their sports business. "If you add the 14 extra matches (for an expanded IPL), the rights value will be at approximately Rs 20,000 crore because the 74 matches will have to be taken into consideration at last time par value. If we are talking about a bid of $5 billion (Rs 35,000+ crore), then we will also need to factor in issues like viewer fatigue due to growth in the number of games. Star has stretched itself in terms of monetisation. Going forward, that elasticity may not be there. Between the 11th and 15th years, monetisation jumped due to programming, expansion in languages, better penetration, and the way they sold it. But ultimately, how do you grow it significantly to narrow the losses or make some profit."

A senior sports media executive says that the only way for IPL media rights is up. The ultimate value will be determined by the extent of bidding. "How crazy the bidding is and how much higher can it go will depend on 2-3 things. Is Reliance/Viacom18 serious, and how serious are they? A lot depends on whether it is bidding between two people, three people, or four people. If it is a Star vs Sony game, then it will go up but how much it will go up one doesn't know, but it will not go to an irrational level because Star and Sony know the potential of the property. Both of them will be aggressive but not crazy," he added.

He also says that the e-auction of IPL media rights on the lines of BCCI media rights e-auction will also add to the inflation. "BCCI is expected to do e-auction of IPL media rights. That will put pressure on all the players to keep increasing their bids. It will become an aggressive thing if Viacom18 is there in the picture. Another important factor is Amazon. Nobody knows what they will do. The addition of two new teams and the format of the league will decide the value of the IPL media rights. Dividing teams into two groups is not exciting because all teams will not be able to play with each other twice."

 

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BCCI rakes in Rs 4670 cr in Women's Premier League team auction: Jay Shah

WPL has broken the inaugural auction record of Men's IPL in 2008, tweeted Shah

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 3:12 PM   |   2 min read

IPL

As expected, Wednesday turned out to be another historic day in Indian women's cricket with BCCI having a windfall gain of Rs 4,600 crores by auctioning five team franchises for the first season, a higher sum compared to what men’s IPL franchises offered to the cricket body during the launch in 2008.  

 Adani, IndiaWin Sports, Royal Challengers, GSW- GMR cricket and Capri Global have won the bid,   BCCI secretary Jay Shah tweeted.

Shah shared in a series of tweets, “Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams of inaugural #WPL broke the records of the inaugural Men's IPL in 2008! Congratulations to the winners as we garnered Rs.4669.99 Cr in total bid.” 

“This marks the beginning of a revolution in women's cricket and paves the way for a transformative journey ahead not only for our women cricketers but for the entire sports fraternity. The #WPL would bring necessary reforms in women's cricket and would ensure an all-encompassing ecosystem that benefits each and every stakeholder.”

“The @BCCI has named the league - Women's Premier League (WPL). Let the journey begin…”

The country's top corporates had bid aggressively for the league. Over 16 groups including IPL franchise owners, Adani group, Torrent and Haldiram were believed to be in the fray. 

Given the popularity of IPL in India, the event is touted to be a big draw for all stakeholders involved. 

The BCCI was reportedly expecting ₹4,000 crore gain through team auction.

It’s noteworthy that Viacom18 has won the Women's IPL media rights for Rs 951 crore for the next five years creating euphoria around the league whose first season will be held in March. 

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Women’s IPL franchise bids to open today

BCCI set for Rs 4,000 crore gain after raking in Rs 951 crore from media rights sale

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:59 AM   |   1 min read

Women's IPL

Today (Wednesday) is another historic day for Indian women's cricket as the country's top corporates are set to bid aggressively for the five Women's IPL (WIPL) teams.

The auction will be held in Mumbai.

Over 16 groups, including IPL franchises owners - Adani Group, Torrent and Haldiram - are believed to be in the fray.

The top five bidders are likely to be awarded the team rights. BCCI is expecting Rs 4,000 crore gain through team auction, sources say.

It is to be noted that Viacom18 has won the Women's IPL media rights for Rs 951 crore for the next five years, creating euphoria around the league. The first season is to be held in March.

Given the popularity of IPL in India, this event is being seen as a big draw for all stakeholders.

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Women's IPL: Viacom18 bags media rights worth Rs 951 crore for 5 years

Each match has been valued at Rs 7.09 crore

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 16, 2023 12:52 PM   |   5 min read

ipl

Viacom18 has been awarded the Women's IPL media rights for Rs 951 crore for the next five years announced Jay Shah, the Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India, in a tweet today. Each match has been valued at Rs 7.09 crore. 

The rights comprise three categories - linear (TV), digital and combined (TV and digital) - and were sold globally, including India.

The announcement was made by Jay Shah, Secretary, the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the Women’s @IPL media rights. Thank you for your faith in @BCCI and @BCCIWomen. Viacom has committed INR 951 crores which means per match value of INR 7.09 crores for next 5 years (2023-27). This is massive for Women’s Cricket

Shah further said, "After pay equity, today's bidding for media rights for Women's IPL marks another historic mandate. It's a big and decisive step for empowerment of women's cricket in India, which will ensure participation of women from all ages. A new dawn indeed!"

The rights comprise three categories - linear (TV), digital and combined (TV and digital) - and were sold globally, including India.

Shah said the bidding amount would have a per-match-value of Rs 7.09 crore (USD 866,000 approx.) over five years.

The men's IPL, in comparison, fetched a five-year deal of Rs 48,390.5 crore (USD 6.2 billion approx. at the time) in June last year with a per-match-value of INR 58 crore (USD 7.43 million approx.).

Women's media rights did not have a base price unlike the men's. Over 22 matches will be played in the tournament that is set to be launched in March this year.

Broadcast heavyweights snapped up five-year media rights for the men’s IPL for a steep ₹48,390. Disney Star acquired the rights to broadcast men’s IPL in the Indian subcontinent for Rs 23,575 Cr ($3.02 Bn) for 2023-27 and Viacom18 grabbed the digital rights for the league with a bid of INR 20,500 Cr ($2.57 Bn).

The men's rights were split across multiple categories and regions.

BCCI President Roger Binny said: “I would like to congratulate Viacom18 for bagging the media rights for Women’s IPL for the period of 5 years. Women’s cricket has been on the up since a few years and the recently concluded bilateral series against Australia is a great testament to how popular women’s cricket has become in India. It was only apt to get our own women’s T20 league and give the fans more of women’s cricket. I would also like to congratulate the BCCI leadership and its workforce for a successful media rights process and wish them the very best for the first edition of the Women’s IPL.”

BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah said, “I am really thrilled that we have had such an encouraging response for a league that will revolutionise women’s cricket not just in India but across the globe. This is a commitment I had made to the Board and our women cricketers and today we have taken one big leap. The broadcasters play a key role in taking the game to a wider audience and their active interest in the league is a clear indication that the Women’s Indian Premier League is headed in the right direction. The per-match valuation of Rs 7.09 crore is something that has never previously been registered for a women’s game. I congratulate Viacom18 for securing both the TV and digital rights with a combined bid of Rs 951 crore and welcome them on Board. The journey has well and truly started and we will take another major step this month when the five franchises are announced.

Chairman, IPL Governing Council, Arun Singh Dhumal said: “It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Viacom18 as our official digital and television broadcaster for women’s IPL. Viacom18 has committed INR 951 crores, which is a per-match value of INR 7.09 crores for the next 5 years (2023-27).

The faith of all our bidders for this process also testifies that they see value in investing in this property which will only be growing with each passing year. Women’s cricket has shown immense growth in the past few years and our own T20 league, it only solidifies our approach towards women’s cricket and the potential it has for growth in India. I would once again like to congratulate Viacom18 and would also like to thank all our bidders for supporting and showing faith in our prospects.”

Rajeev Shukla, Vice-President, BCCI, said: "I'm truly glad to witness a new dawn in women's cricket today. The Women's IPL would elevate the stature of women's cricket across the globe and would groom talents at the grassroots level. Congratulations to Viacom18 for winning the media rights for Women’s IPL 2023-27. We hope to witness phenomenal enthusiasm and support from cricket audiences worldwide."

BCCI Treasurer Ashish Shelar said, “I congratulate and thank Viacom18 for their record bid and faith in the league. With a consolidated bid of INR 951 crore they have won both the TV as well as digital rights. These are record numbers for a women’s tournament and signal to a promising start to Women’s IPL. I am confident that the tournament will prove to be a game-changer and that the popularity of women’s cricket will soar further. A lot of work is being done behind the scenes and the first season of this unique tournament will truly be memorable.”

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Jio to stream IPL for free in 11 regional languages

The app is expected to sell inventory, not only on impressions but also as 10-second slots, the way it is sold on TV

By Naziya Alvi Rahman | Jan 10, 2023 8:21 AM   |   2 min read

IPL

In a move that is likely to be a game-changer for IPL this season, Sports18 is believed to have decided to air IPL free on the Jio app, taking its reach to over 500 million users. As part of its strategy to take TV head-on, the app is expected to sell its inventory, not only on impressions but also as 10-second slots, exactly like how it is sold on TV.

Sources in the industry claimed the pitch by Sports18 is concentrated around four points. Unlike Disney+ Hotstar, the matches will be available free on the Jio app and that too in 11 different languages, including Bhojpuri, Tamil and Bengali.

Coming to the pricing, Sports18 is believed to have marginally slashed its rates to attract diverse advertisers. “They are playing on reach and mass. They claim to reach 500+ million subscribers and no match is behind any paywall. They want to connect with newer advertisers who have always aspired to be associated with IPL but did not have the means. Also, the legacy brands will nevertheless continue their association,” said a senior media planner.

Echoing the views, another senior media expert said: “They may just start with a lower slab and later increase the rates depending upon the response they may get going forward. It’s always smart to play the mass game,” he added.

The digital player is also believed to be banking on the growth of connected TV. “Most people, particularly in the cities, have smart TVs and may prefer installing the Jio app over investing in a package. Hence, this will bring you IPL for free on your big screen as well," the expert noted.

Sports18, when contacted for comments, neither accepted nor denied the claims.

Early last year, Viacom18 (Sports18) bagged the IPL digital rights for the Indian subcontinent for a whopping sum of Rs 20,500 crore, which amounts to Rs 50 crore per match.

“They have a huge sum to recover and so they are looking at different possible ways to sell their game. Being the debutant in the domain they want to play safe yet aggressive,” said another senior industry player.

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Women's IPL: Media rights auction on Jan 16

Broadcasters like Disney+ Star, Sony-ZEE and Viacom18 are reportedly in the fray for the rights

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 9, 2023 12:10 PM   |   2 min read

women's ipl

The media rights auction for the highly anticipated Women's IPL will be held on January 16, as opposed to January 12 as reported before.

The auction will see participation from big broadcasters such as Disney+ Star, Sony-ZEE and Viacom18who will reportedly submit their bids on the said date. The bidding will reportedly be a closed process with the best bidder bagging the rights.

"Any interested party wishing to submit a bid is required to purchase the ITT. However, only those satisfying the eligibility criteria set out in the ITT and subject to the other terms and conditions set out therein, shall be eligible to bid. It is clarified that merely purchasing this ITT does not entitle any person to bid. The BCCI reserves the right to cancel or amend the bidding process at any stage in any manner at its discretion," BCCI stated.

The country has been waiting with bated breath for the inaugural edition of the tournament to be held in March 2023. Given the popularity of women's cricket in India, the event is touted to be a big draw for all stakeholders involved, especially for broadcasters.'

e4m previously reported that the cricket board is expecting to earn Rs 8-10 crore per match and around Rs 160-200 crore from the 20 matches in the tournament, from media rights, sources closed to the development told e4m. BCCI is set to earn about Rs 107 crore per match in the men’s IPL from 2023 onwards. 

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Brand Mumbai Indians valued at $83 million: Report

According to Brand Finance, Mumbai Indians has nearly doubled its brand value over the years with a 99% growth since 2009

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 28, 2022 1:09 PM   |   1 min read

MI

Mumbai Indians has been valued at $83 million by global brand valuation agency – Brand Finance. According to the report, Mumbai Indians has registered a 4% spike as compared to 2021. 

The five-time IPL Champion has a mix of marquee and global brands on board, including DHL, TeamViewer, Cadbury Dairy Milk along with Slice. According to Brand Finance, Mumbai Indians has nearly doubled its brand value over the years with a 99% growth since 2009. This reflects the trust and strong brand partner portfolio of the franchise with brands having a high pedigree, which is not restricted to geographies. Its associations have also evolved with like-minded partners with whom Mumbai Indians has stitched long-term partnerships, unlocking maximum value for both brands.

Currently, Mumbai Indians has over 32 million fans across its social media platforms.

Notably, Mumbai Indians also emerged as the only brand to have registered a growth in 2020, unfazed by market slowdown and apprehensions amongst sponsors globally regarding investment in sports due to the pandemic.

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IPL Auction Live: Broadcaster, streaming partner set to make big money

While Star Sports is reportedly seeking Rs 35-40 lakh for a co-presenting sponsor slot, JioCinema is said to have priced its inventory at Rs 20 lakh

By Sonam Saini & Kanchan Srivastava | Dec 22, 2022 8:28 AM   |   2 min read

IPL

The Indian Premier League has grown into a decacorn within 13 years of its launch with sponsors and advertisers playing a big role in this journey.

Such is the craze for this sports property that even the live telecast of the players’ auction, slated to be held in Kochi this Friday, is set to make huge money for the broadcasters. IPL’s official broadcaster, Star Sports, and digital streaming partner, JioCinema, are selling ad inventory at premium rates. They have even onboarded a few sponsors for the live telecast. The list of sponsors even has an international bank, sources privy to the development have told e4m.

“Star Sports is seeking Rs 35-40 lakh for co-presenting sponsor of the live telecast. While associate sponsorship is priced at Rs 19-20 lakh, a spot buy is costing around Rs 11-16 lakh,” sources claimed.

Officials further said, “The broadcaster is also offering different packages for the auction day, ranging between Rs 12-18 lakh.”

JioCinema is reportedly seeking Rs 20 lakh for sponsorship packages, another source informed.

Queries sent to Star Sports remained unanswered till the time of filing this story. 

IPL media partners had been reigning in as sponsors in the past auctions as well, but their rates were not in this range, experts said.

In a historic auction held early this year, Disney Star acquired the rights to broadcast men’s IPL in the Indian subcontinent for Rs 23,575 crore ($3.02 Bn) for 2023-27, and Viacom18 grabbed the digital rights for the league with a bid of Rs 20,500 Cr ($2.57 Bn).

With $12 million per match, IPL is only behind the NFL as the world's 2nd most lucrative sports league.

Action at Auction

The IPL 2023 auction shortlist has 405 cricketers, including 273 from India. A maximum of 87 slots are up for grabs, with 30 to be filled by overseas players, BCCI has said.

Rs 2 crore has been set as the highest reserve price. While 19 overseas players have chosen to be slotted in the highest bracket, 11 players are with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore. Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal are the two Indian players on the list of 20 cricketers with a base price of Rs 1 crore.

The auction is set to start at 14:30 IST. Fans can watch the live streaming on JioCinema and the live telecast on Star Sports.

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