IPL will be a two and a half month tournament from 2024? jay shah says this
Attracting astronomical bids through the media rights of the IPL, which translates into revenue of Rs 48,390 crore for a period of five years, did not surprise BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who insisted that cricket’s most talked-about T20 league has more Ability to give more.
In an exclusive interview with PTI, the 33-year-old Shah spoke on a range of topics related to Indian cricket, IPL’s place in the global cricket calendar, running cricket establishments in the times of COVID-19 and the road ahead for both the Indians. . Cricket and IPL.
Q: Were you surprised by the intense bid for IPL media rights or was it on expected lines?
A: I am really happy with the kind of numbers we have achieved. This shows the phenomenal growth potential of Indian cricket. The auction was always going to be exciting for every stakeholder. We are a proof of what we are able to realize the true value and number in front of you. These figures reflect the potential of the Indian economy and the confidence of investors in the new India. Digital India has changed the way cricket is viewed in India. So the bid result of Digital Rights is proof of that.
Question: Was there any apprehension in the BCCI when the decision was taken to increase the cumulative base price of media rights to over Rs 32,500 crore, when the winning bid during the last media rights auction was almost half (Rs 16,347.50 crore)?
A: No, BCCI never felt that the base price was too high. You need to understand that in 2018 it was for 60 games. For the next cycle, we will have 410 games, with 74 games each in the first two seasons and then 84 games in the next and finally 94 in the 2027 edition. You also need to check the digital numbers – there were about 560 million digital viewers in 2017 and 665 million in 2021. You expect it to grow even more in the years to come.
We have research agencies. By 2024, India will have 900 million internet users as we will be the second cheapest data provider in the world. Obviously linear viewership (TV) will remain but there is a transition towards digital viewership and thus you realize the value.
Q: You are talking about having 94 matches in future. How do you plan to manage your FTP commitments window and various international teams?
A: This is one aspect that we have worked on. Let us tell you that from the next ICC FTP calendar, the IPL will have an official window of two and a half months, so that all the top international cricketers can participate. We have had discussions with various boards as well as the ICC.
Q: When Amazon pulled out, there was talk that they weren’t happy with Package C, which offered only 18 games per season for non-exclusive digital rights?
A: The purpose of BCCI was simple. Our motto was Maximum Participation, Maximum Value and Better Value Discovery. So if someone A and B are winning, they need to spend more to buy package C. It’s that easy. This is called the search for a better price. I think the way we conducted the e-auction was the most transparent.
Question: There is speculation that IPL can be held in two phases. Where does BCCI stand on that aspect and how are you planning to implement it?
A: We are in discussions with various stakeholders. There are also several offers for all IPL franchises to play friendly matches overseas. That idea is being seriously considered but for that we need to talk to other boards as well because we need to know the schedule of international players.
Question: There are reports that this time the viewership of IPL has dropped by 30 per cent. Due to more matches, the fatigue of the audience is also being discussed. Also the recall value of the games this year has also been talked about. your thoughts?
A: I don’t agree that viewership has declined. You have to keep in mind the numbers before COVID and after COVID. IPL viewership for 2020 and 2021 skyrocketed as cricket was the only source of live sports entertainment for the Indian public. People were unable to step out due to COVID-19. So there was a sharp jump in the figures.
Now in 2022, the same masses are coming out after a certain amount of normalcy returns. People are socializing, going out for dinner, taking vacations that they haven’t done in the last two years. Also, when you count the number of spectators, this year during evening games, you will be able to see hundreds of people sitting in pubs or restaurants watching TV.
So are hundreds of fans watching IPL matches on a DTH (Direct to Home) connection. So, if you calculate the viewership, I want you to calculate based on the viewership of 2022 as compared to 2019.
Question: Let us discuss a little bit about international cricket. Will India’s bilateral calendar take a hit if the IPL gets a bigger window?
A: As long as world cricket remains strong, Indian cricket will be strong. Let me assure you this. BCCI is committed to international cricket. And it is not just about India vs Australia or India vs England marquee series, we are committed to playing smaller countries as well. All bilateral international commitments will be respected in all formats. We are playing two T20 Internationals against Ireland this month. We want to have a strong strong international circuit and want to help them by playing against smaller cricketing nations.
Q: BCCI also needs to focus on managing the workload of players in the troubled calendar. How do you deal with physical fatigue issues?
A: I have discussed with NCA chief VVS Laxman and we will always have 50 players in our roster. In future, you will have a scenario where the Indian Test team will be playing a series in one country and the white-ball team will be playing a series in a different country. We are going in that direction where we will have two national teams ready at the same time.
Q: Let’s turn our attention to women’s cricket. You have already said that women’s IPL will start from 2023. Can you give us an idea of what the scale of this will be and how you plan to organize it?
A: This is a project that is very close to my heart. We will start with five or six teams in the first edition. I am thrilled with the kind of response we have received from the stakeholders. Several existing IPL teams have inquired and expressed serious interest in owning the WIPL franchise. The interest from outside should not be forgotten. We are in discussion with other boards about a possible window when all the top cricketers will be available. I can promise that the valuation of league, franchise and media rights will surprise everyone.
Q: You took over as the BCCI secretary in 2019 and if someone asks you to look at your time so far, what is it that you value the most?
A: It was very satisfying to be able to conduct the Games despite the operational difficulties during the COVID-19 time. There were challenges and we had to put the IPL on hold during the second wave last year as we did not want to compromise on health, safety and security. I would like to thank the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for helping with logistics arrangements for the second phase of 2020 and 2021. We had the Indian women’s team playing two Test matches after eight years, which is a huge achievement. We did more than 30,000 RT-PCR tests and had one of the safest bio-bubbles in three versions with minimal cases. When Omicron’s cases were increasing in South Africa, the BCCI sent its entire team for Test and ODI series. We sent our team to Australia during the pandemic and successfully hosted England with no case being detected.