Star India outbids Facebook, Sony to win $3.5b IPL deal

England's Ben Stokes won a £1.7 million (S$2.98 million) IPL contract this year, but the value of the new rights deal means that his salary will be easily surpassed for next season.
England's Ben Stokes won a £1.7 million (S$2.98 million) IPL contract this year, but the value of the new rights deal means that his salary will be easily surpassed for next season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Cricketers are set to rival footballers as the super-rich of the sporting world after the Indian Premier League secured a staggering £1.97 billion (S$3.45 billion) media deal that could lead to players earning close to £10 million for a six-week stint in the competition.

The five-year deal won by Star India is a 400 per cent increase on the previous deal with Sony and propels the world's richest Twenty20 competition to a new financial level, with each match commanding nearly the same media value as a football match in England's Premier League.

Ben Stokes, the all-rounder, became the highest-paid English cricketer of all time this year when he won a £1.7 million deal to play for Rising Pune Supergiant.

His deal was the second-biggest auction sale after the £1.9 million paid for India's Yuvraj Singh two years ago.

Yet even that sum is set to be dwarfed at the next IPL auction, which usually takes place each February, with the teams' income expected to rise five-fold.

Star India saw off rival bids by Sony and Facebook to win the rights, a fivefold increase on the previous 10-year deal held by Sony that was worth £77 million a year.




    The Indian Premier League will receive almost £2 billion over the next five years. In its current 60-game format, that equates to more than £6.5 million a cricket match.



    The Premier League's television rights deal runs from 2016 to 2019 and is worth £8.3 billion. Over a 380-game season, each football match is worth £7.2 million.



    The TV rights for the 2015-18 cycle of Europe's premier football competition sold globally for about €4 billion (£3.68 billion). Uefa receives £17.75 million a match from the 207 games.



    The 64 fixtures at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil reportedly earned Fifa about £1.85 billion in global TV rights.



    The 2016 Olympics reportedly fetched about £3.16 billion in global TV deals. That works out to around £117 million per day of competition or about £59 million per session of sport.


    £1 = S$1.76

Star India is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox and for the first time a single IPL fixture will be worth more than the rights to an India home international.

The deal puts the IPL on a similar level as football's English Premier League - its global rights were sold for £8.5 billion over three years for 1,140 games, working out at £7.45 million per match.

The IPL's deal covers 60 matches per season for five years, 300 in total, so the media rights deal values a single game at £6.57 million.

The Star India contract also illustrates the increasing value of digital rights - Sony had actually offered more for the TV rights alone, £1.33 billion, but did not bid for any digital rights.

Star India managed to secure the entire package of rights with a combined bid that also enabled it to see off competition from Facebook and Bein Sports.

"We believe the IPL is a very powerful property, and we believe there is lots more value that can be created for fans of cricket on digital and TV," Uday Shankar, Star India's chief executive, said.

"India, cricket and the IPL have changed dramatically since 2008, and this bid is a reflection of that."

The deal also reflects the obsession in India, the world's second most populous nation of about 1.3 billion, with cricket, especially the 20-over format, despite a spot-fixing scandal in 2013 that led to the banning of several players and two-year suspensions of two IPL teams.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'Star India outbids Facebook, Sony to win $3.5b IPL deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe