The ICC is about to find out how much their cricket is worth when they open bids on the Indian market from various broadcasters on Friday. At stake is the rights to broadcast ICC events—men and women—for the next four or eight years, on TV and digital, straight to your device of choice. And given the huge amounts of money generated by bidding on the IPL, there is an expectation that the ICC could benefit from the big money swirling through the game.
Here’s what you need to know about bidding.
Why do I even need to know about ICC rights when all I care about is who my team plays next?
Because ultimately the money from these rights is part of the money that makes the rich (India, England and Australia) richer, but keeps the game going in the smaller member states. So if you care about that, you probably better care about this too.
A whole series of events from 2023-31: 16 men’s events (over eight years between 2023-31) and six women’s events (over four years – between 2023-27). World Cups, Champions Trophy, T20 World Cups, U19 World Cups, you name it, every ICC event – men and women – you watch until 2031 is part of this deal.
As ESPNcricinfo understands, one or more of Disney Star*, Sony, Zee, Viacom, and Amazon.
And do I watch it on my phone, TV, tablet?
Either, both, all. For the first time, the ICC has extracted its rights. It no longer sells one set of TV rights to the highest bidder; it now sells its rights as separate TV-only, digital-only and TV-and-digital combined packages. All three are for four or eight years. If one of the packages is sold for only four years, the ICC will open another window to sell the rights for the second four-year period.
That sounds like bidding can get complicated.
That’s exactly what four of the top broadcasters in the running thought, and several emails were sent to the ICC about the lack of transparency in the process. And as a symbolic protest, they didn’t initially attend some training sessions — or “mock auctions,” as they called them — designed to familiarize them with the process.
Disney Star, Zee, Sony and Viacom expressed various concerns about the transparency of the bidding process. TL;DR: The broadcasters were not happy with the fact that the bids would not be shared once opened, among those who bid; that there was no clarity as to what margin of difference between the best bids would be too close to trigger a second round of bidding; and they wanted to know more about how the ICC would judge a four-year deal offer versus an eight-year deal.
What happened next?
The four broadcasters eventually went ahead with bidding, and according to some reports the desired clarity has been given. According to a report in the Times of Indiabroadcasters have been told that if a bid is within 10% of the highest bid/combination bid, it will trigger a second round of bidding – only this time via an e-auction (more on that shortly).
There is also some more information about a predetermined multiplier, which will be used to judge an eight-year bid against a four-year bid. The ICC will look at the best bids for both terms and then look at the ratio between the two, comparing that to the multiplier, which is believed to be set at 2.8. If the eight-year ratio exceeds the multiplier, the ICC will pick the winner for the eight-year bid. If the ratio is lower, the highest offer for four years is chosen.
I’m sorry, what?
Here’s an example. If the best four-year number is 100 and the best eight-year number is 270, then the ratio is 2.7 (270/100). That is lower than the 2.8 multiplier set by the ICC. In this case, the ICC will last for four years with the highest bidder. But if the best four-year bid is 100 and the eight-year highest bid is 300, then the ratio of 3 means the ICC will pick the highest eight-year bid.
Only, as we say, if the second best bid is within 10% of the best bid; the first round of bidding is the old-fashioned closed bidding method, which has worked best for years, according to the ICC (some broadcasters wanted an e-auction from the start, after the success of the IPL). The ICC also argues that the unbundled nature of their claims offering means it’s too complex for a simple e-auction process. In fact, they initially ruled out an e-auction, but have since moved away from that. The e-auction will take place a few days later, if necessary.
Why did they go to the Indian market first?
In short: money. It is the largest market for cricket and as the IPL rights proved, there is a huge appetite among the biggest broadcasters out there for more cricket content. The ICC is confident that, as two different broadcasters – Disney Star and Viacom – won the TV and digital rights respectively to the next five-year cycle of the IPL, as well as other participants will aggressively bid for the second-largest rights in cricket. , that of the ICC.
The basis of this is also simple math: by unbundling the package of rights into events for men and women, in digital and TV, by going into different areas, they can make much more money than in previous cycles.
I’m not sure how it took so long to get to the bottom of it: how much money do they expect to make?
No one can be sure, but here are some facts. In the last cycle, the ICC sold its rights for just over $2 billion. But that was a different, linear world: that figure was for all rights on all platforms worldwide. For this cycle, the ICC is believed to have a reference figure in mind, an “asking price” of $1.44 billion for a four-year deal and $4 billion (1.44 multiplied by 2.8) for an eight-year deal. . That’s double the last deal in eight years, and it’s just a reference figure – so the minimum they expect – and it is only for the indian market!.
Expectations have risen, not only because of the way the broadcasting and digital landscape has changed since the last cycle, but also because there is more content. There were six men’s events in the previous eight-year cycle, while there will be one yearly in this next cycle. Six of the eight events fall in the Indian time zone; India plays host to three men’s event; four of the eight events in the next cycle take place during the Diwali celebration season, when the Indian market is usually in the spending mood.
Divorced women’s rights will help. An element of development still remains, in that the highest bid does not necessarily guarantee the winner. The ICC is looking for the right broadcasting partner who can promote women’s cricket worldwide. The highest bidder(s) will make a presentation to the Media Rights Advisory Group (MRAG) – created specifically to assess the bids – to show how they want to help women’s cricket grow, and that won’t just be limited to global events , but the general game.
*Disney Star and ESPNcricinfo are part of the Walt Disney Company.