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IPL: Media rights race hots up after IMG renews events deal

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MUMBAI: IPL events rights holder - the International Management Group (IMG) has reportedly renewed its partnership with the Indian Premier League (IPL) for another five years. For the last 10 years, the UK-based organisation is the primary controller of the main events related to the IPL.

IPL media rights' race too seems to be getting intense with Amazon, Facebook, Discovery, Jio and Twitter in the fray

IMG had been the official events rights holders since 2008 outliving bidders such as Rhiti Sports, Wizcraft, and Group of 4, with a Rs 270 million per year deal. The deal value in 2009 was escalated to Rs 330 million.

Expecting another windfall, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has meanwhile invited tender for media rights to the IPL for the five-year period from 2018 wherein television and digital media rights both would be auctioned. The deadline for buying tender documents is 24 August and the auction process will close on 28 August with results being announced the same day.

Eighteen top guns from across the globe purchased tender documents last year. Sony Pictures Network (SPN) holds the television rights (2008-2017) whereas Star India holds the digital rights.

The new race seems to be getting hotter by the day. According to the new process, digital and television rights both will be for a period of five years period. The bids will be classified into three categories -- subcontinent digital rights, subcontinent television rights, and Rest of the World media rights -- and five territories.

While it is anticipated that Star India and SPN may fight for the television rights in the subcontinent region, Discovery reportedly stated it will join the auction for the sake of DSport. The digital rights war too is anticipated to be neck-and-neck as video-streaming portals will be seeking to tap the huge potential in India.

With Hotstar by its side, while Star has done a worthy job in the last two seasons, Jio which has seen a phenomenal growth in its customer base is eventually among the frontrunners for the rights. Twitter and Facebook depend on tremendous subscriber growth and deep pockets to pocket the new IPL deal.

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