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UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF THE GAME

Decoding the Indian Premier League Media Rights Sale – Part 1

Published 01 December 2017 | Authored by: Nandan Kamath Roshan Gopalakrishna

In early September, Star India Pvt. Ltd. (Star) – the South Asian member of Rupert Murdoch’s global broadcasting network – acquired the consolidated global television and digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a five-year period (2018-2022). The IPL is a Twenty20 (T20) cricket league promoted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the national governing body for cricket in India. At $ 2.55 billion, this deal represents the biggest media rights purchase in cricket history by some distance.

The media rights sale process and its outcome were witnessed with great interest both in India and across the sporting and broadcast world. The resulting media rights valuation caps a tremendous decade for the IPL, which has been the subject of commendation and condemnation in equal measure for events that have occurred both on and off the field. Though opinions are divided on the IPL’s qualitative contribution to cricket, what is more unitary and undebatable is the sheer impact it has had on Indian and world sport. It has affected player movement and commitments, raised player incomes, carved out a place for itself on the complex annual cricket calendar and inspired a number of ‘me-too’ cricket and non-cricket franchise-based leagues in India and internationally.

In part one of this article, the authors:

  • provide a brief introduction to the IPL’s history and commercial structure;

  • describe the background to and the nature of the Supreme Court of India’s intervention to implement governance reform in the BCCI; and

  • examine the salient aspects of the tender and media rights sale process.

In part two, the authors discuss and analyse the key takeaways from the media rights sale, its probable impact of the valuation of rights on the global cricket economy and what it portends of the future.

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About the Author

Nandan Kamath

Nandan Kamath

Nandan is Principal Lawyer at LawNK, based in Bangalore, India. His practice specialises in sports, technology and media laws, with clients ranging from international and national sports federations, to leagues, teams, sponsors and athletes.
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Roshan Gopalakrishna

Roshan Gopalakrishna

Roshan is Counsel (Sports & Entertainment) at LawNK, a Bangalore based niche law practice specializing in sports, intellectual property, media and information technology laws. In addition, Roshan is also the Chief Legal Counsel at Copyright Integrity International, a world leader in the protection of digital and broadcast rights. Roshan is a graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

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