Money Talks! That is the bottom line on which the BCCI, one of the most efficient and profitable sports organizations in the world, have operated for close to three decades now. From privatization of the TV rights in early 1990s to selling multi-billion dollar IPL rights in 2022, ‘more’ has always been the keyword in the Churchgate office.
But the recent decision to evaluate the Women’s Indian Premier League on the basis of only technical rounds instead of handing over the biggest bidder the rights to telecast the tournament created some ripples. But industry insiders believe that BCCI looking at the bigger picture is a good thing that the broadcasters will be happy about.
“Nobody knows how the Women’s IPL will shape up. For now, it needs marketing and a broadcaster with a vision can shape the product the right way,” an executive of one of India’s biggest media conglomerates told Cricket.com.
“It’s important that they are looking to evaluate the bids from a technical perspective. It allows them to evaluate the strategy of the company's planning to bid for it,” he added.
In late 2021, the BCCI sold two men’s IPL franchises for a massive sum of INR 12,715 crore, showing the kind of financial might that is hard to process. It is quite remarkable because the minimum bidding price set by the BCCI was INR 2000 crore. Even a company like Adani Sportsline Pvt. Ltd, whose parent conglomerate has 10 publicly-traded companies in National Stock Exchange and a big contributor to Nifty50 Benchmark Index, had missed out.
“This massive investment shows how our product has shaped up in the last one and a half-decade and it is set to break all the records in the future. The BCCI aspires to make the IPL among the top three leagues in the world, and not just in cricket. We are well-positioned to do the same in the next five years,” a senior BCCI official had told this portal then.
But what would be the fate of the Women’s IPL or Indian Women’s T20 League, as they are planning to call it? Would that mint money?
For the tournament to stand its ground, it is paramount that they build a sustainable base to cover the dilemma. Even if the tournament could fetch somewhere around 500 Crore per team, that would be a good starting point to sell other properties associated with the event, like media rights, which is about to be revealed on January 15.
“It is futile to compare the Women’s IPL to Men’s IPL at this stage. All we want to do is make a marketable product that would drive itself to a glorious future. We have seen how fans crazily turned up in Mumbai and creating a market would be the most important chapter here. The BCCI is well aware of that and all our efforts are directed towards making the Women’s IPL a grand success,” a BCCI official said.
We understand that the BCCI is happy to sell the media rights for a total of 1,100-1,250 crore which translates to about INR10-11 crore per match. Even though that is less than 10% of the per match income of the Men’s IPL, the BCCI have reasons to feel optimistic about.