The world of cricket is abuzz with excitement as Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has thrown open the doors for bids on the media rights in the global market. Several Indian broadcast companies have entered the fray, hoping to clinch the rights for the next four years, from April 2023 to March 2027. The bidding is set to take place in Colombo on Wednesday, March 1, unless a late entrant makes an appearance and seeks an extension.
With the stakes so high, the competition is expected to be intense, with several major players in the industry vying for the coveted rights. Sony Sports, the current global rights holder, may face some tough competition from the likes of Star Sports and digital player FanCode. However, what has piqued the interest of cricketers enthusiasts and industry experts alike is the sudden late interest shown by Viacom 18, a new player in the market. The company is believed to have contacted Sri Lanka Cricket officials to inquire about the possibility of participating in the bidding process at this late stage, adding a new dimension of intrigue to an already exciting event.
As per multiple sources, it is widely known that Sony Sports, the current holder of global media rights, could face stiff competition from Star Sports and digital platform FanCode. However, what makes the bidding process even more intriguing is the late entry of Viacom 18, a new player in the market. It is rumored that Viacom 18 has approached SLC officials to inquire about the possibility of joining the bidding process at this stage.
Despite the excitement surrounding the upcoming global media rights bidding process for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), some industry experts are questioning the timing of the tender. Recent market trends indicate that the television market has hit a slump, which is evident in the apparent lack of advertisements during the highly anticipated India-Australia series.
While some are speculating that advertisers may be holding back their resources for the upcoming World Premier League (WPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL), which are believed to be high-interest leagues in India, the general consensus is that the current market is generally dull for the broadcast industry.
Based on reports, the current value of Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) global media rights is estimated to be between $23-25 million. However, with the upcoming tender for the next four years of media rights from April 2023 to March 2027, the value is expected to be influenced by the number of bidders. If more companies enter the fray, the value could exceed the current estimate.
The bidding process will be particularly influenced by the number of games with team hosts against India during the four-year period. With only eight games currently scheduled, the value of the rights may fluctuate depending on whether any additional matches are added. It remains to be seen if the interest in the rights will increase with more games added to the schedule, but it’s likely that the competition for the rights will intensify as potential bidders assess the profitability of the venture.
It is interesting to note that the upcoming value of the Sri Lanka Cricket global rights will depend largely on the number of bidders. Currently, the value of the rights is estimated to be around $23–25 million, but this may increase if there are more bidders in the market. The actual value of the new tender, however, will be determined by the number of games with team hosts India over the next four years, as India is a major player in the cricketing world and draws a large audience.
Team mentioned is set to host India for a six-match white ball series in July 2024, and later in 2026, India is scheduled to visit the island for a two-Test series. It is possible that there may be additional India-Sri Lanka contests added to the schedule, given the frequency of these matches in recent times. However, it is worth noting that only eight games have been marked in the new four-year FTP, in which Sri Lanka will play approximately 56 games at home. This raises questions about the potential profitability of the media rights, as the number of games played at home will largely impact the value of the global rights.
According to an SLC official, once the global market has been covered, the board will begin the process of selling the rights for its domestic market. This move is aimed at maximizing the revenue generated from media rights, as it allows the team to reach a wider audience beyond Sri Lanka. Domestic rights can be sold to local broadcasters, who can then broadcast the matches to Sri Lankan viewers.
The domestic market for sports in country mentioned is significant, with a large following for the sport in the country. By selling the domestic media rights separately, the team can ensure that local broadcasters can show Team’s matches to the country’s passionate sport fans, while also generating additional revenue for the board. This move is likely to be welcomed by Sri Lankan cricket fans, who have been eager to watch their team in action in both local and international competitions.