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Week 11: FSDL’s magnificent delivery of ISL, PKL’s media rights auction and other sports business news

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Football Sports Development Limited spend  INR 27 Crore on the health and safety protocol and infrastructure for the Indian Super League 2020 season

Our first update is from the recently concluded Indian Super League season.

Mumbai City FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan winning their first-ever Indian Super League title. They in fact did the double winning the shield and the cup. Congratulations to Mumbai City FC on the spectacular cup winning season. 

Football was the first sport to be back in India during COVID-19. Indian Super League 2020-21 was the first major event to be held with bio bubbles in India. The league was held for a duration of six months, including the pre-season, and 18 bio bubbles were created across 14 hotels in Goa. 

Indian Super League conducted approximately 70,000 RT-PCR tests over the course of the season on a total of 1635 people, who were within the bio-bubble.

It has been reported that the number of times, each person had an RT-PCR test was 50, while on average, a person was tested every 72 hours. The league procured approximately 26,000 N95 masks to be used during the season.

Football Sports Development Limited spent INR 17 crore on COVID testing and other health-related protocols.

Because the Indian Super League was played in a bio-bubble in Goa, Football Sports Development Limited rented and refurbished three stadiums and eight practice grounds and hired security etc. which amounted to a total of INR 20 crore.

So, the total spend amounted to INR 30+ crore to organise the event.

In my opinion, the FSDL have done a magnificent job in conducting the event and showing their commitment to continue the league without any setbacks.

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Pro Kabaddi League’s media value faces a tough test with opening with the media tender 

Our second update is from Pro Kabaddi League. Earlier this year Mashal Sports, the owners of Pro Kabaddi League made a surprise announcement that raised a few eyebrows. They announced that they were parting ways with Star TV network and are conducting an open auction for their media rights. Eyebrows were raised because Star Sports has hosted the League since its very inception and they also own 74% in Mashal Sports. 

So, what will the new partner have to pay for the media rights?

Pro Kabaddi League is looking for a partner for a 5-year term. The reserve price for the five-year package has been set at Rs 900 crore.

Bidders are welcome to bid for traditional broadcast rights of the league, bidders can also bid for digital rights which include its virtual reality rights, and the league’s gaming rights, which will include rights to operate a fantasy league, the opportunity to create mobile, computer or console games, and an eSport around Pro Kabaddi League.

How do the media rights deal fare against other sports leagues in India?

The Rs 900 crore opening price for the PKL bid is way smaller in comparison to the Rs 16,347.5 crore that STAR India paid the BCCI in September 2017 for the consolidated media rights of the Indian Premier League but is significantly impressive for a starting sum for an Indian sports league which is not cricket.

Who is in the running to acquire the media rights?

In my opinion, I don’t see anyone going in for a complete rights package assuming the current spending is restricted due to COVID-19. I reckon the media rights will be segmented and sold separately. For example, Amazon or Facebook could go for digital streaming rights, Sony Sports or Star Sports will go for the broadcast rights and someone like a Nazara will go in for the gaming rights. This could be the most favourable situation for Pro Kabaddi League. But the main component is the broadcast deal considering it enjoys a cumulative reach of 352 million, touches about 1.2 TVRs regularly on telecast and gets an impressive 70 million video views on digital and social media. At 22+ minutes, its TSV is highest among sports and all other media properties. 

It will be an anxious wait for Pro Kabaddi League till the auction in the first week of April. We will follow this story and revisit it after the auction.

In other news

South Korean gaming company Krafton has purchased a minority stake in Nodwin Gaming for Rs 164 crore. Krafton is best known for intellectual properties and games such as PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG), TERA, Golf King, Castle Burn among others. Nodwin Gaming intends to channelise the funds to accelerate the development of esports in South Asia, Middle East and Africa, support talent, provide better gaming infrastructure – technology and conceptualise, organise and execute tournament IPs at the national and international level.

Off-highway tyre manufacturer Balkrishna Industries (BKT Tires) has signed a sponsorship deal with seven Indian Premier League teams. In a deal facilitated by RISE, BKT tires will become the official tyre partner for Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals. This week also saw Indian Mobile payment company Phone Pe become the second brand to announce a multi-team sponsorship deal Indian Premier League franchises – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore & Delhi Capitals. Additionally, PhonePe is the official co-presenting sponsor for the television broadcast of IPL 2021 on Star Sports Network. It is also the Associate Sponsor for the digital broadcast of IPL on Disney+Hotstar. 

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Nilesh Deshmukh
I am passionate about sports and passionate about marketing. As a sports marketer, I have built significant expertise in successfully delivering medium to long term digital marketing strategy for global sports entities and brands like Arsenal FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, Major League Baseball, Formula E, and AELTC, etc to engage with their fans in India. I am currently based in London and lead India business at Engage Digital Partners.