ICC (Image Credits: Twitter)

The ICC has gone to market with its media rights for the next eight-year cycle, and it has done so in a completely different fashion than before. The ICC will go to market in India alone beginning next week, selling rights for men’s and women’s events individually, as well as digital rights. This reflects the shifting media landscape. 

The ICC’s choice to go to India first reflects a determination to get the best business contract possible. The ICC has previously sold worldwide rights to both men’s and women’s tournaments on a consolidated basis. No longer: the ICC intends to sell rights for various areas in the future, in the hopes of attracting more bids and therefore increasing the deal’s overall worth. 

Invitation To Tender For All Events In The India Market Due On 22 August

ICC Women's ODI World Cup 2022
ICC Women’s ODI World Cup 2022. Image Credits: Twitter

On June 20, the ICC will issue an Invitation To Tender (ITT) for all of the events in the Indian market, and sealed bids will be due on August 22. By early September 2022, the ICC will notify the selected bidders before issuing the ITTs for further markets. 

Before announcing its proposal for the world tournaments, the ICC waited for the BCCI to finish its media rights e-auction for the IPL, which brought in deals worth more than $US 6 billion. Before finalising its own strategy, the ICC engaged the BCCI to evaluate the approach utilised for the IPL rights auction.

The ICC, unlike the BCCI, will continue to employ the sealed-bids procedure “to inspire potential bidders to make their highest bid for the events and package they want,” according to a media statement. 

Six Different Bundles To Be Available In India

In India, up to six different bundles will be available, including TV-only, digital-only, and a mix of the two. 

Bidders can compete in 16 men’s events (spanning eight years) and six women’s events (spanning four years), totaling 362 and 103 matches, respectively. Only senior-level matches are included in these data; the men’s and women’s Under-19 World Cups (one-day and T20) will also be included, although they will be in addition to these match figures.

India women cricket team
India women’s cricket team. Image: Twitter

Four Under-19 World Cups, four T20 World Cups, two Champions Trophies, four World Test Championship finals, and two 50-over World Cups are among the 16 men’s competitions. Two T20 World Cups, two Under-19 T20 World Cups, one 50-over World Cup, and one T20 Champions Trophy will be among the six women’s competitions. 

The ICC media release said, that “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.” 

If any of the packages is only sold for four years, the ICC will open a new opportunity to sell the rights for the next four years. 

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

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

Similar packages will be available for women’s events (including Under-19 events), with the exception that each will last four years: 

  • 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

The next ICC rights cycle will include six women's tournaments (Image Credits: Twitter)
The next ICC rights cycle will include six women’s tournaments (Image Credits: Twitter)

Bidders will have the option of exhibiting “their vision for cricket to the ICC, particularly for the Women’s Package” when they include their final bids in a sealed envelope in August, as part of the ICC’s continued drive to broaden the reach of women’s cricket internationally. 

Instead of using money as the sole criterion for the next cycle, the ICC is inviting bidders to discuss how they will use their platform to promote the women’s game, which might add more value and purpose to the contract overall. For the women’s events, the ICC has left the option of not granting the rights to the highest bidder open. 

Previously, women’s global tournament rights were sold as an add-on to men’s events, which the ICC believed devalued the women’s game. 

The latest consolidated ICC rights contract had gone to Star India (2015-2023). The ICC has not announced the deal’s worth, but ESPNcricinfo understands it to be around US$ 1.9 billion. 

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