The Indian Premier League (IPL) has become one of the wealthiest sporting leagues in the world after India’s cricket board fetched a staggering $6.07bn (approximately £5bn) for a broadcasting deal including television and streaming rights.
India’s cricketing board held a three-day auction leading to Walt Disney’s Star India and Indian media conglomerate Viacom18 bagging the rights to broadcast the Twenty20 cricket tournament for the 2023-27 cycle.
Viacom18 is backed by Reliance Industries which is owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man.
The network clinched streaming rights for about $3.05bn (£2.53bn), tweeted Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Tuesday.
Star India retained the media right securing a bid of $3.02 bn (£2.4bn) for the same period, he added.
The IPL broadcasting rights value was more than double the $2.4bn (£2bn) Star paid for the previous five seasons of the IPL.
The record-breaking deal has put the IPL among the highest-ranked sports leagues alongside the English Premier League and the US’s NFL in cost-per-match terms.
The e-auction was done on a per-game basis, which means the rights holders will pay the Indian cricket board $7.36m (£6.1m) per match.
The IPL currently has 74 matches per season but this number will likely go up.
“Since its inception, the IPL has been synonymous with growth and today is a red-letter day for India Cricket,” Mr Shah said on Twitter.
“IPL is now the second most valued sporting league in the world in terms of per match value,” he claimed.
The global popularity of the IPL is partly because of the T20 cricketing format, which has just 20 overs per team of play time.
The format exploded in popularity since it launched in 2018 with the world’s biggest cricketing stars playing for teams on big-money contracts.
The massive popularity of cricket as well as the format in India has greatly expanded its media value.
“IPL is an important component of our portfolio of television channels in India, providing an incredible opportunity for us to showcase The Walt Disney Company’s powerful global brands and iconic storytelling, as well as Disney Star’s impressive collection of local original content, to millions of viewers in India,” Rebecca Campbell, chairperson of the International Content and Operations, the Walt Disney Company, said in a statement.