Viacom18, the Indian media and entertainment heavyweight, has secured exclusive linear and digital rights to home Indian national and domestic cricket matches for the next five years.

The broadcaster snapped up these rights through an auction held today (August 31) and will pay INR59.63 billion ($721.2 million) for all home national team cricket and some domestic cricket through March 2028. It is expected to broadcast live action on its Jio Cinema platform and the Sports 18 TV channel.

The value of the rights fulfills a condition laid down by the BCCI before the auction – namely, that the per-game fee across the 88 matches India’s team will play over the next five seasons will exceed INR60 crore ($7.25 million). Indeed, that value will now come to INR67.8 crore for each fixture. The partnership will start at the end of September when India takes on Australia in three home One-Day Internationals.

This deal adds to the two media rights tie-ups Viacom18 already has with the BCCI – it already holds digital rights to the prestigious Indian Premier League men’s franchise tournament, and all-encompassing rights to the equivalent Women’s Premier League Twenty20 competition.

Viacom18 replaces heavyweight pay-TV broadcaster Star, owned by Disney, as the BCCI’s main national team media rightsholder. Star has held these rights since 2018 and has been paying roughly INR60 crore for each match under its deal.

For the TV rights, in total Viacom18 will pay out INR2860 crore, while contributing INR3106.4 crore for the digital rights.

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This leaves Star with the domestic TV rights for the IPL, and notably also the rights for the next cycle of International Cricket Council global events, through to 2027.

Sony Pictures Networks – the other broadcaster to have a substantial presence at the auction – has failed to increase its minimal presence as a cricket broadcaster, meanwhile.

The BCCI launched the tender process in early August, with a deadline for the purchase of documents of August 18.

Early in the process, it was rumored that global technology and media giants Amazon and Google would be involved, but their participation did not materialize.

While the BCCI had put the combined base per-game fees for the two packages available (one for linear rights and the other covering domestic digital, and the rest of the world) as only INR45 crore combined, as stated above there was a clause in the tender documents that if a combined bid did not reach INR60 crore for each match, the auction would be terminated.

Although the rights fee per game does represent an increase for the BCCI, GlobalData has been told by a senior source from the world of cricket broadcast rights that the per-game figure could potentially have gone much higher, even up to INR100 crore, with the booming Indian economy factored in.

Roger Binny, president of the BCCI, said: “The remarkable journey of Indian cricket, its meteoric rise in the global sporting arena, owes its success to the unwavering trust that people have vested in the BCCI leadership and its dedicated workforce. With the staunch support and collaboration of every stakeholder within our cricketing ecosystem, I am confident that we will continue to propel the BCCI brand to uncharted territories on the global sports stage."

Jay Shah, honorary secretary of the body, added: “Today's e-auction has propelled the BCCI into the upper echelons of per-match media rights valuation, marking a monumental stride in our journey. Throughout this process, we have steadfastly upheld the principles of transparency and fairness, ensuring that all stakeholders are treated equitably. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Viacom18 for emerging successful in the e-auction.”

Ernst & Young acted as the BCCI’s strategic advisor during the process, while Argus Partners assisted in drafting the tender documents.

This represents the second major deal the BCCI has tied up in the last week, after it sealed a title sponsorship agreement with IDFC First Bank, an Indian private-sector financial institution, for the next three years.

IDFC will now act as the title sponsor for top-tier BCCI home events – including both national team and domestic cricket – from the 2023-24 season onwards.

It will take over from Mastercard, the credit card giant, which has held title rights since September 2022 but is set to see its deal expire soon.

Viacom18, meanwhile, additionally covers franchise cricket including the SA20 from South Africa and MLC from the US.