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Updated: BCCI invites bids for Internet & Mobile rights for IPL 2015-2017


Update: BCCI has extended the bid deadline to February 10, 2015 and potential bidders can pick up the tender document until February 9, 2015. An Economic Times report also suggests that the “rest of the world” region includes television and digital rights for United States, United Kingdom and Africa regions. It cites a media planner who said that US and UK had accounted for close to 50% of the total bid value in 2011.

Interestingly, the Internet rights for Middle East region is also apparently kept non-exclusive while mobile rights are exclusive.

Earlier (Jan 27): The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has issued a tender notice, inviting fresh bids for Internet & mobile rights for India & rest of the world region along with certain television & audio rights related to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for three seasons (2015, 2016 & 2017). The tender document will be available from January 22, 2015 to February 2, 2015, and the bids have to be submitted by February 3rd, 12 pm.

Rights being offered

It looks like BCCI has separated the Internet & mobile rights on a region basis with this tender, offering these rights for Indian subcontinent and the rest of the world regions, unlike in previous tender wherein it offered these rights on a worldwide basis. The media rights being offered are:

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– Indian subcontinent: Internet & mobile rights.

– Rest of the World (Certain Territories): Television, Audio, Internet and Mobile rights.

Note that this doesn’t include Television rights for the Indian sub-continent and certain other territories, which are held by SET Max. BCCI hasn’t disclosed any further details and unfortunately, the invitation to tender document is itself priced at Rs. 2,00,000 (non-refundable). (p.s. We wouldn’t mind a peek at the tender document though).

A quick take on possible bidders:

– Times Internet: Times Internet* which previously held the global IPL rights for Internet, Mobile, Radio and Television (for certain territories), will most likely bid for these rights again, considering the significant investments it is making on strengthening its Cricket coverage in the recent months.

It acquired a majority stake in the online cricket site Cricbuzz for an undisclosed amount in November last year and merged its newly launched cricket site GoCricket with it. Last week, the company also launched a prominent advertising campaign for Cricbuzz, possibly in time for the World Cup 2015. Times Internet has also previously used IPL to promote its video streaming site BoxTV and in 2013, it had claimed to have witnessed a 56% growth in unique visitors online, with over 200 million video views on BoxTV and YouTube.

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STAR India: Considering the investment STAR India is making in Cricket, right from buying BCCI rights to sponsoring the Indian Cricket Team, one could also expect STAR India to bid for these rights. It could also use this opportunity to attract potential viewers and advertisers to its newly launched video streaming service Hotstar.

However, its worth noting that STAR India is also claiming the ownership of Cricket scores & prevent ball by ball commentary online and on mobile, thereby attempting to prevent coverage of events and is currently fighting the Hot News case in the Supreme Court of India (Read our Hot News coverage here).

Sony LIV? There is also Sony LIV which might consider bidding for these rights to strengthen its sports coverage. Remember that SET Max currently owns the television rights for IPL in the Indian subcontinent and certain other territories. Uday Sodhi, Executive Vice President and Head (Digital Business) at Multi Screen Media had also told MediaNama that live sporting events has been a key driver for their growth.

The company recently added UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers, NBA and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and also signed tie-ups for Australian Open and Champions Tennis League among others. That being said, Multi-screen Media is also trying to prevent other cricket websites and radio stations from providing live updates online or on radio. It had also filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court last year, following which as many as 472 websites including Google Docs, Google Video and Google’s URL shortener goo.gl were blocked in the country.

It’s also worth noting that Sony Corp was, as per Businesweek, investigating its Indian unit for possible bidding fraud and kickbacks, and favors for government officials allegedly includes IPL tickets.

*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with Medianama

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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