The Indian Premier League is laughing all the way to the bank.
It hit a massive six by selling its broadcast rights for a mind-boggling $6.02 billion US. That ranks the IPL among the highest-ranked sports leagues alongside the National Football League and the English Premier League in cost-per-match terms. In what has rightly been described as a big deal Disney-owned Star India acquired the television rights for $3.01 billion while the online streaming rights were picked up by Viacom18 – a joint venture between Paramount and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned TV18 for $3.4 billion. The broadcast rights are more than double what Star India paid for the past five seasons.
The NFL is believed to rake in on an average some $36 million while the IPL comes in next at a combined per-game value of $15.1 million. And it is more lucrative than the EPL brings in $11.23 million per game followed by Major League Baseball ($9.7 million) and the National Basketball League ($2.2 million) based on a 2020 estimate by Forbes.
Forbes estimates that Mumbai Indians, one of IPL’s most successful teams, is valued at $1.03 billion and is more valuable than six MLB teams, 27 NHL teams and every Major Soccer League franchise.
The IPL attracts the cream of the game from every corner of the world and the Indians, owned by Ambani’s wife Nita, went for broke this year by signing swashbuckling opener Ishan Kishan for a staggering $2.03 million for a Twenty20 league that’s over and done with inside eight weeks. The league is played before packed stadiums and it came as no surprise when the clubs splurged $73.25 million on 204 players and created 50 millionaires.
This league has acted as a conveyer belt in India for churning out world-class players at a record pace. Meanwhile in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday India kept alive its five-match Twenty20 series by galloping to an easy 48-run victory over visiting South Africa. The Proteas won the first two to put India under the gun but openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Kishan (54) opened with a flurry to help India post 179 for five. It was then left to ace Yuzvendra Chahal to spin a web around the South African batsmen as he took three for 20 off his four overs and medium-pacer Harshal Patel chipped in with four wickets for 25 to send the Proteas packing for 131 with five balls to spare.
ENGLAND WINS SERIES
Under new management, England has found a winning formula. After winning a series, it seemed like a distant dream new captain Ben Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum lifted the team from the bottom of the Test ranking by stunning New Zealand by five wickets at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
Set 299 runs for victory Jonny Bairstow unleashed a stunning century to thrill a crowd that was allowed in for free. Bairstow smashed 136 off 92 balls and he received help from his captain Stokes who blasted an unbeaten 75 to kick off his reign on a winning note as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Bairstow and Stokes led the way with a fifth-wicket stand of 179 and Bairstow came within a whisker of becoming the fastest English centurion. Gilbert Jessop established the mark off 76 balls against Australia 120 years ago and Bairstow fell short by one ball. Bairstow blistered 14 fours and seven sixes in an innings that will be long remembered. In a high-scoring encounter five players got to five figures.
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell starred in New Zealand’s first knock of 553 with Mitchell making 190 and Blundell 106. Mitchell was unbeaten with 62 in the second innings in New Zealand’s total of 284. For England, it was former captain Joe Root again leading the way as he did in the first Test with 176. Ollie Pope also got into the act with 145 in England’s total of 539. Now freed of his captaincy shackles Root put on a classic show in hoisting his 27th Test century.
MAXWELL AUSSIE HERO
Power-hitter Glen Maxwell hit 80 off just 51 balls to help Australia beat Sri Lanka by two wickets on the D/L method after this exciting contest was ruined by rain. Kusal Mendis flayed the Aussies with an unbeaten 86, Danushka Gunathilaka made 55 and Pathum Nissanka 56 as the hosts piled on 300 for seven in its 50 overs. Apart from Maxwell, the Aussies got solid knocks from Steve Smith (53) and Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis who both made 44. Spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took four for 58.