The explosion of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket in recent years just paid off in a major way. On Tuesday, the IPL announced its new broadcast partners for 2023-27, and with it a staggering $6.2 billion price tag.
Disney and Viacom will divide up global broadcast rights, with Disney getting rights to the extremely coveted Indian TV market, which they paid $3B for on its own. Meanwhile Viacom will control the lion’s share of digital distribution in India, UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
The IPL’s new deal is one of the richest in global sports, and puts it only behind the NFL in terms of earning the most money on a per-game basis, which for the IPL translates into just north of $15.1M. However, while the figure is massive, indicating the wild popularity of the IPL in traditional cricket markets, there remains hesitation from traditional broadcasters in pushing the league into new markets.
For instance, the broadcast rights for the United States were included in this deal, but were won for a paltry $33M, by “Times Internet,” who run the paid cricket-based streaming service “Willow TV” in the United States. That, unfortunately, is unchanged for fans who were hoping for a cheaper alternative already built into streaming platforms they may already pay for, rather than taking on another service solely to watch cricket.
However, this next deal could just be a litmus test for the swelling popularity of the largest global cricket league, and we could see movement in the next deal. The IPL’s deal almost triples under this new setup, with players likely to see huge salary increases as a result. Similar to the English Premier League in soccer, the IPL features players from around the globe, who happen to be representing Indian cities. So the interest extends far beyond the country.
When it comes to interest in cricket in the United States the future may hinge on Major League Cricket. The struggling organization who has worked to try and popularize the sport in the U.S recently obtained $120M in new funding, with sights set on creating a new T20 league to attract fans. There’s every chance that when the IPL rights are big on again in 2027 the USA could be a major growth area, should the MLC venture see success, and non-traditional fans begin to buy into the sport.
For now the cricket world is focused on the IPL, which has unlocked making the sport hugely profitable outside of international competition. It remains to be seen if the IPL will ever catch on in the US, but for the rest of the world we’re seeing the rise of a sporting juggernaut.
Source : SBNation