March 12 may well go down as a red letter day in the history of the entertainment and sports worlds. For, on that day began the live screening of IPL T20 cricket matches in multiplexes and cinemas of India. More than 650 cinemas are reportedly showing the exciting matches on the big screen. The admission rates are the usual ones charged for films.
UFO has reportedly paid Rs. 330 crore for the screening rights of the IPL matches for 10 years. The rights also include the telecasting rights of the cricket matches in restaurants and pubs. UFO expects to recover Rs. 33 crore every year (Rs. 330 for 10 years means Rs. 33 crore per year, simplistically speaking) as follows:
On a conservative estimate, each of the six multiplex chains is expected to contribute Rs. 1.5 crore as UFO’s share during the two 45-day runs of the IPL matches (two matches every year). The net collections will be shared 50:50 between the multiplexes and UFO. The total revenue from the six multiplex chains would, therefore be Rs. 9 crore. Single-screens can be expected to yield another Rs. 5 crore. Income from restaurants and pubs is anticipated to be another Rs. 9 crore. Advertising revenue in the 45 days’ run is said to be in the region of Rs. 12 crore. All this means, a total return of Rs. 35 crore (Rs. 9 crore plus Rs. 5 crore plus Rs. 9 crore plus Rs. 12 crore) in the first year.
While this is what the optimists estimate to be a minimum return to UFO, pessimists feel that the revenues would fall far short of the expectations because once the novelty of watching cricket on the big screen dies down, people will not be eager to spend Rs. 150 to 200 per ticket for a cricket match they can in any case watch for free on their TV sets at home. In any case, attendabce in cinemas has already fallen down. Which means, the pessimists seem to be right!
Incidentally, there is a move to screen the final few matches in 3D.