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Star bids highest for BCCI's IPL media & digital rights and is the winner

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MUMBAI: Star India has been investing heavily in Indian sport. And that investment - and promise to invest more - got the vote of confidence from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) when its  offer of Rs 16,3475 million or Rs 16347.5 crore or approximately $ 2.55 billion proved high enough for it to snare the five year global consolidated (telecast & digital) rights for the most lucrative and prized cricket league in the world - the Indian Premier League (IPL). 

Star India’s offer was about Rs 5000 million more than the consolidated highest individual bid total which stood at Rs 15,8195.1 million.  The bidding rules had made it clear that the global rights  (Rs 16,347.50 crore) bid would get precedence over the individual bids if the latters' sum total (Rs 15,8195.1 million) was lower than the former.  For viewers, what this means is that they will be watching IPL action on Star India’s sports channel bouquet and VOD platform Hotstar for the next five seasons of the IPL (2018 to 2022).

Though 24 companies picked up the offer documents, only 14 turned up for the bidding process early this morning, from which BAM Tech was disqualified. Those who took part included:  beIN, Star India., Followon Interactive Media, Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) , Times Internet, Supersport International, Reliance Jio, Gulf DTH, Econet Media, Facebook, DAZN / Perform Group, Yupp TV, Airtel and BAM Tech.

Star India and SPN India were the only two bidders for the Indian subcontinent TV rights and the latter’s  bid  of Rs 11,0500 million was much higher than Star India's Rs 6,1969. million.  Facebook India was the highest bidder for digital Indian subcontinent rights with its offer of Rs 3,9000 million. It beat back telcos Jio, which bid Rs 3,0757.2 million, and  Airtel's offer of Rs 3,2800 million, and even Star India that had bid Rs 1,4430 million. The Rest of World A (Austrailia, New Zealand & rest of world) telecast rights saw a bid of Rs 700.1 million by Followon emerging as the highest offer, ahead of Times Internet Ltd's  (TIL's) Rs 533 million and Star at 178.8 million. 

The beIN bid of Rs 3900 million for the Rest of World B (Middle East) rights  was much higher than OSN’s Rs 2112.5 million, YuppTV's Rs 1001. million and Star India's Rs 650 million.

Supersport came out tops on the Rest of World C (South Africa) rights with its bid  of Rs 1202.5 million as against Econet's Rs 845 million and Star India's Rs 617.5 million. The Rest of the World D (UK) rights  had only one bidder: Star India with its offer of Rs 487.5 million, the only territory for which it emerged as the highest  individual bidder.

The Perform group led the race for the Rest of the World E (US) rights by bidding Rs 2405million leaving YuppTV (Rs 2346.5 million), TIL (Rs 1852.5 million) and Star India (Rs 491.6 million) far behind.  The consolidated figure for the highest bids for each individual right thus worked out Rs 15,8195.1 million.

Almost all the cricket ecosystem players were cock-a-hoop with delight about the successful global bid placed by Star India.

Said BCCI acting president CK Khanna in a press release:  “We are happy to announce Star India as our new global media and digital partner. We thank all the bidders that participated in the process. We have ensured that transparency of the highest form was maintained throughout the process. I would like to thank cricketers and franchises for making the league one of the eminent sporting leagues in the world. I would also like to thank all the fans for showing their continuous support for the VIVO IPL for the last 10 years.”  

Added BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary:  “We welcome Star India on board as our broadcast and digital partner. Cricket as a sport has evolved over the years, and today’s bids were a reiteration of VIVO IPL’s growing global popularity.”

Star India chairman & CEO Uday Shankar too expressed his excitement about his company's successful bid. Said he:  "We are honoured to be selected as IPL's global media rights partner and we thank BCCI for conducting such a transparent process. The VIVO Indian Premier League is undoubtedly one of the most exciting sporting leagues in the world and this acquisition of media rights reaffirms our commitment to serve cricket fans and make cricket even bigger than it is. We are delighted that in Star, IPL has found its natural home. We look forward to bringing this exciting format to our audiences across the world in a quality that all our viewers are accustomed to both on television as well as on digital on Hotstar.”

Shankar further added, “At Star India, we believe that Indian sports have barely scratched the surface of its potential. Both the viewership of sports and more importantly participation in sports is something that we would like to grow substantially over the next few years. The acquisition of these rights is symbolic of our commitment to not just cricket but to the growth of a wider sports culture in the country.” Not to let go of a chance like this, Shankar also added that Star would have to come up with solid business proposal to monetise the IPL property over a period of five years as pay TV revenues --- read tariffs --- were highly regulated in India.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri expressed:  "We are grateful to the Supreme Court, the Committee of Administrators and the office bearers of BCCI. We are also thankful to Deloitte and our legal partners Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas for their support in carrying out a fair and transparent bidding process efficiently. We would like to welcome Star India on board as our IPL global media and digital partner.  We believe this is a global benchmark and all the stakeholders of IPL will significantly benefit from this association with Star India."

Sportingly, SPNI congratulated and wished Star India all the best in its endeavor to shape the  IPL over the next five  years.  Said the previous rights holder in a press note:  "SPNI  has nurtured the IPL since its inception and within a span of 10 years established it as one of the most popular sporting properties in the world. We would like to thank all those who supported us in curating the lineage and legacy of IPL.  At the same time, we take this opportunity of wishing STAR India the best as they shape IPL over the next five years. With our recent acquisition of the Ten Sports network, the sports network of SPNI holds the broadcast rights to five cricket boards, guaranteeing that our channels will continue to offer a strong mix of programming for cricket fans.”

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