ICC to sell next media rights for Indian market and men’s and women’s events separately

The ICC has gone to market with its media rights for the next eight-year cycle, having radically altered the way in which it has done so. In a reflection of the changing media landscape, the ICC will first go to market in India alone from next week; it will sell rights for men’s and women’s events separately; and it will also sell digital rights separately.

The ICC’s decision to go to India first is a reflection of the desire to optimise the commercial deal. In the past, the ICC has sold rights globally on a consolidated basis, combining both men’s and women’s tournaments. No longer: going forward, the ICC wants to sell rights for different territories in expectation of more competition from the bidders, thus enhancing the overall value of the deal.

The ICC will release an Invitation To Tender (ITT) for the India market for all the events on June 20 and the sealed bids will be submitted on August 22. The ICC will then announce the successful bidders by early September 2022, before releasing the ITTs for additional markets.

The ICC had been waiting for the BCCI to wrap up its media rights e-auction for the IPL – which brought in deals totalling over $US 6 billion – before unveiling its plan for the global tournaments. It is learned that the ICC consulted the BCCI to study the model used for the IPL rights auction before finalising its own plan. However, unlike the e-auction model the BCCI has used, as per a media release the ICC will continue to use the sealed-bids process “to motivate prospective bidders to submit their best bid for the events and package they want”.

Up to six packages will be up for grabs in the Indian market, with deals including TV-only, digital-only or a combination of both.

The prospective bidders can bid for 16 men’s events (over eight years) and six women’s events (over four years), amounting to 362 and 103 matches respectively. These figures include senior-level matches only; the men’s and women’s Under-19 World Cups (one-day and T20) will also be part of the deal, but are in addition to these match figures. The 16 men’s events include four Under-19 World Cups, four T20 World Cups, two Champions Trophies, four World Test Championship finals and two 50-over World Cups. The six women’s events will feature two T20 World Cups, two Under-19 T20 World Cups, one 50-over World Cup and one T20 Champions Trophy.

The ICC media release said, the “interested parties will be required to submit a bid for the first four years of men’s events. However, they also have the option of bidding for an eight-year partnership.”

In case any of the packages are sold for only four years, the ICC will open another window to sell the rights for the second four-year period.

There will be three packages available for the men’s events (including the Under-19 events):

  • TV (four/eight years)
  • Digital (four/eight years)
  • TV and digital combined (four/eight years)

There will be similar packages available for the women’s events (including the Under-19 events), except that the duration is four years for each of them:

  • TV (four years)
  • Digital (four years)
  • TV and digital combined (four years)

“There has been significant growth in interest in women’s cricket over the last five years and we have made a long-term strategic commitment to accelerate that growth, and unbundling the rights for our women’s events will play a huge role in that,” ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said as per the release. “We are looking for a broadcast partner who is excited by the role they will play in growing the women’s game and ensuring more fans than ever before can enjoy it.”

Highest bid may not fetch women’s rights
In its ongoing push to expand the reach of women’s cricket globally, the ICC has pointed out that bidders will have the option of showcasing “their vision for cricket to the ICC, particularly for the Women’s Package” when they enclose their final bids in a sealed envelope in August.

Essentially, for the next cycle, instead of having money as the solitary filter, the ICC is welcoming bidders to talk about how they will utilise their platform to promote the women’s game, which could add bigger value and meaning to the deal overall. The ICC has kept open the option of not awarding the rights to the highest bidder for the women’s events.

In the past, the rights for women’s global tournaments were sold as an adjunct to men’s events, something the ICC felt was devaluing the women’s game.

Star India had won the last consolidated ICC rights deal (2015-2023). While the ICC had not disclosed the value of the deal, ESPNcricinfo understands it was close to US$ 1.9 billion.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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