IPL tendering process to commence 17 July; bidding to be fierce

MUMBAI: The Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians pulled of a wafer thin victory against the Rising Pune Supergiants in the final of the Vivo IPL 2017, possibly giving a super boost to the TV ratings that Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN India) will notch up for its telecast. The final match could also be the last time both SPN India and Hotstar could be telecasting the Vivo IPL as both their contracts with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have ended.

Come 17 July, and the tendering process will start to bag the IPL telecast and rights – both national, international and streaming over the internet. The auction process was supposed to commence last year but was quashed by the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha committee.

The IPL title sponsorship tender will commence earlier on 31 May 2017. Chinese smart phone maker Vivo’s title sponsorship contract too has ended with the latest edition of the IPL.

The decision on the two dates was taken by the BCCI, the members of the IPL governing council, and the Supreme Court appointed committee of administration on Saturday 20 May.

Industry experts expect the price for the five year rights – yes, the cycle of the IPL rights has been reduced to five years by the BCCI to further exploit its potential – to reach stratospheric heights. The expectation is that potential bidders like Star India, SPN India, Amazon India, and new player in the game the Discovery promoted D-Sports could end up writing cheque amounts close to double of what was paid for the previous cycle – on a like to like basis.

For both Star India and SPN India, bagging the rights is crucial. Star India has targets to achieve $1billion EBIDTA by 2020 and one of the tools to help it get there is of course the spread of Hotstar. Over the last two years, it has launched a clutch of sports channels in its bouquet. SPN India too will want to retain the rights as it has been one of its cash cows over the past three to four years, notching up new records in advertising and viewership every year. It too has launched a clutch of channels and has even partnered with ESPN for a channel in India.

Clearly, the side which bats and bowls well during the tendering process will win.

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