Star India, Sony Pictures Network India pick up IPL tender document

MUMBAI: The race to pocket the broadcast rights to India’s top cricket franchise, the IPL, has commenced. According to reports appearing in the media, Sony Pictures Network India (SPN-India) has picked up the IPL tender document. A Times of India news item reports that SPN-India took this decision “without prejudice.”

What that means is that SPN-India can still take the BCCI to court for allegedly reneging on its earlier broadcast rights contract with the cricket body, which gave the broadcaster the first right of refusal.

The BCCI, on its part, says it is under public scrutiny and the Supreme Court has ordered it to maintain transparency in all its financial dealings. Any deal would be questionable unless done openly through a transparent auctioning process, it says.

Amogst other bidders who picked up the tender document are Star India which has been pretty gung-ho on sports; it made an announcement in 2013 that it was plonking down Rs 20,000 crore towards developing sports and sports television in India over the next five years. Rs 1,500 crore of this would be towards developing hockey.

Amazon Prime Video has been reported by the media to be interested in throwing its hat in the ring as well, media reports stated. Who else will enter the fray will become clearer over the next few days.

The IPL tender envisages the television rights to be assigned for 10 years, whereas the digital rights will be for five years. Punters are betting as to what extent the bidders will open their wallets to acquire the rights. $2 billion to $4 billion is the range that is being talked about.

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