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Star’s winning bid is a 158% increase on the last rights cycle, when in 2009 Sony Pictures Networks (formerly Multiscreen Media) bought the TV rights for nine years for $1.63 billion from World Sports Group.
Star has held the domestic digital rights for the past three years (2015-2017) and broadcast matches on its Indian streaming platform Hotstar.
“We believe that the IPL is a very powerful property, and we believe there is lots more value that can be created for fans of cricket and viewers through IPL on digital as well as on TV,” said Uday Shankar, chairman of Star India. “And we would remain very committed to make sure that the growth of sports in this country continues to be driven by the power of cricket.”
In every category the bids were “fiercely contested”, Star’s Shankar said. The global bid from the 21st Century Fox-owned broadcaster was just 3.34% or INR528.2 crore more than the total of the highest bids in each category.
The highest bid for the Indian domestic TV rights was Sony’s INR11,050 crore rather than Star’s INR6,196.95 crore. And, in the Indian digital category, Facebook offered the most at INR3,900 crore, some 170% higher than the INR1,443 crore bid from Star, which also trailed higher bids from digital contenders Reliance Jio and Airtel. Star’s consolidated bid for the entire rights was, however, larger than the sum of all the highest bids for each category (INR15,819.51 crore).
“Even if it was slightly less we would not have got the rights. That should tell you this is the right figure. When one person or one company bids very highly you can ask that question. But in every category it has been so competitive. There are three digital rights that went have gone for more than 3,000 crore. Digital did not even exist ten years ago. In television it was very aggressively tendered too, and equally for the rest of the world. This should tell you that cricket continues to be very strong, healthy and very attractive in this country,” said Shankar.
Although 24 companies had bought the tender document, only 14 eventually bid at the BCCI event in Mumbai. They were bein Sports, Super Sport, Follow On, Yupp TV, Times Internet, OSN, Facebook, Airtel, Star India, Sony Pictures Networks, Econet, Perform Group, Reliance Jio and BAMTech.
“Our main endeavour to the stakeholders was to provide a transparent process where there should not be any iota of doubt,” said BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, announcing the deal.
Star will now hold the rights to air and stream IPL action from 2018 to 2022.