THE DEALMAKER: With American-style cheerleaders, Bollywood stars as team owners and matches that seem to be on steroids, Twenty20 cricket has horrified purists of the game while boosting ratings and the amount of money thrown around for rights and ad sales.
For Sony Entertainment Television India, the move may have been a gamble. The network had paid $250 million for the ICC World Cup last year, but then India and Pakistan lost in an early round, and with those losses the regional auds tuned out. That didn’t stop SET CEO Kunal Dasgupta from going after the global media and production rights to Indian Premier League cricket, which is branded Twenty20 on TV.
Lalit Modi, topper of the Board of Cricket Control (BCCI) in India, told wire services: “We are glad that we have found the right media partners. Sony has done a good job in the past with ICC rights. We expect it to do the same with IPL.”
At the end of the season, SET, which paid a little over $1 billion in May for rights for the next 10 years along with the World Sports Group, and the Indian Premier League had reason to crow about their success. With 59 matches, many in primetime, Twenty20 cricket did boffo ratings.
While SET still has rights to ICC cricket, Dasgupta says, “IPL is the crown jewel. It’s going to do even better next year.”
Ad buyers estimate that ad revs should come in at $78 million for this first year and go up to $145 million for the next year.
BCCI is expected to make a profit of $78 million in the first IPL year itself, up from $52.4 million in 2007.
“It’s our own version of the Super Bowl,” Dasgupta says.
KEY DEALS: ICC rights for $250 million; IPL rights for $1.03 billion until 2017 along with WSG.
DEALMAKER DOS: “Have the belief and the passion to make it happen.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Be practical; avoid the pitfalls.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Lakshmi Mittal and Anil Ambani