IPL Media Rights: BCCI's first sale of television rights was for THIS amount

IPL Media Rights: BCCI’s first sale of television rights was for THIS amount


With BCCI earning a massive amount thanks to the sale of IPL media rights for the next 5-year cycle, it is important to go back to the story when the board sold th television rights for the first time. When the South Africa tour of India happened in 1991-92 which was also the their first-ever tour since the suspension suspension from the sport in 1970 due to the apartheid policy, it was decided that both teams will play 3 ODIs in Calcutta, Delhi and Gwalior. Amrit Mathur, who was the manage of the Indian cricket team then, narrated an insightful story to cricket host Gaurav Kapoor on his Podcast 22 Yarns. The story is of the first broadcast rights sale by BCCI to a South African national broadcaster. 

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What’s the story? 

As soon as the South Africans signed on the tour of India, they called up Mathur to confirm the price of the broadcast rights. Back then no one in BCCI was used to sale or purchase of broadcast rights. Doordarshan used to be the national broadcaster of the cricket matches in India and there existed no sale of rights to them. The deal was pretty simple with DD. All the advertising profits used to go to them while BCCI used to earn from the on-site advertising and ticketing, that is sale of tickets and profits from the the advertisement on ground went to BCCI, informed Mathur on the podcast. 

“We did not even know that these matches are our property. When South Africans asked for the price, then we got to know that this property is ours. We did not know what price to qoute so I called up Doordarshan, who told me to ask for $10,000 per match. 

“I then asked some seniors in the board, they told me this ($10,000) looks a little less, aske for $25,000 per game. I still remained quiet as I did not if this price was right. I did not want to look foolish in front of them. When the date was near, Ali Bacher of the South African cricket board asked to send the price quickly. I asked them what could be the right price as per you. He hesitatingly said ‘will $30,000 be enough?’ And eventually the deal was closed at $40,000.” This is is around Rs 31 lakh in today’s rate. 

When the final match happened in Delhi, Mr Bacher came and gave a cheque to Mr Madhavrao Scindia of $120,000. That was the first sale of television rights for  a game in India.”

Cut to 2022, and BCCI have sold the TV rights of just IPL for Rs 23,575 crore while the digital rights have gone for Rs 23,758 crore.  In total, the broadcasters will collectively pay the BCCI Rs 118.02 crore per match for the next five-year cycle. How the time are changin for cricket in India. 


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