Cricket South Africa (CSA) could be realising that it is not as easy to get one Indian broadcaster as it was to rope in six Indian owners for SA20. Having signed all Indian Premier League (IPL) owners for the six-team league, to be launched in January-February 2023, the South Africa board has not found takers for a broadcast deal in India. SuperSport is the rights holder in the domestic market.
Cricbuzz has learnt that the CSA and SA20 authorities have had talks with all the Indian broadcasters – Star, Sony, Zee, Viacom and Amazon among others included – but could not find anyone interested in a deal to their expectations. Some Indian broadcast officials, who spoke to them, have revealed that their impression of the CSA expectation was for a deal broadly to the size of Zee’s contract with the Dubai league (ILT20), which is $ 120 million for 10 years, or 12 million for a season. The Indians broadcasters’ valuation is not anywhere close to that price.
Following this, CSA has decided to combine their international rights with SA20. In a recent communication to the media houses, the South Africa board has said it would issue a fresh ITT, combining the two properties. Stating that the board is grateful for the expressions of interest in international/domestic and the SA20 rights, the CSA said it would simplify the process.
“In the interests of all parties, the RFP issued on September 8 is withdrawn, and a revised ITT for both the International Rights and the SA20 Rights will be issued shortly with a deadline for submission of bids by mid-October,” said a source broadly quoting the mail. The combined ITT is expected to be issued by Monday. Star Sports are the present rights holders in India and their contract will be ending after the 2023-24 season.
Most overseas leagues do not command even $ 1 million a season in India. The advantage with the SA20 is its Indian ownership as the franchises are subsidiaries of the IPL teams with a fixed fan base. The disadvantage is that it would be in a clash of schedules with the Dubai league (ILT20). Besides, the South African prime time is late night in India.
Having an Indian broadcaster is key to the survival of the league, something Haroon Lorgat’s GLT20 (2017) failed to find and could not take off. Besides, the CSA board has guaranteed $ 1 million a season to the franchises from the league’s central revenue. That promise can be met only with a substantial broadcast deal.
A CSA spokesman declined a comment on the broadcast deals but confirmed that Tom Harrison, former CEO of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has been appointed as a commercial consultant for the league.