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Star wins IPL rights for ₹16,000 crore over five years; implications

In a massive coup, Star India has won global digital and TV rights for the next five years, outbidding competitors like Jio and Sony Pictures by putting up ₹16,347.50 crore in a consolidated bid for rights across these categories. From 2018 to 2022, Star will have exclusive broadcasting rights for the league.

Star outbid Sony, which won ten-year broadcasting rights for the IPL in 2008, which expires next year. It also outbid Times Internet and Facebook, as both Internet companies try to get a foothold in streaming sporting events. Amazon and Twitter, both of whom want a piece of the sports streaming pie, did not submit bids, even though they bought tender documents for the auction.

ESPN and Yahoo also did not submit bids.

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This is a big win for Star, and for its streaming service Hotstar. Most of Hotstar’s traffic comes from its sports streams, and it has seen this number grow steadily over the last three years where the company had the rights to the IPL — continuing to have the rights to India’s most popular sporting event is a huge advantage for the company, and gives them enough time to perhaps paywall IPL streams in its Premium plan.

Sony had paid ₹8200 crore for ten years’ television broadcasting rights, whereas Star had paid ₹302.2 crore for online streaming rights three year ago.

Note that Star also has a deal with the ICC called “cricket’s biggest-ever global broadcast agreement” for eight years (2015 to 2023), that includes 18 ICC tournaments, including two ICC Cricket World Cups (2019 and 2023), two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments (2017 and 2021) and two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments (2016 and 2020)

DishTV complaint to CCI and BCCI

Last month, Dish TV wrote to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to prevent Star India from being the sole holder of the telecast rights of all the major cricketing events. DishTV said that the Star India holding all the cricket broadcasting rights is anticompetitive and anti-consumer.

Jawahar Goel, chairman and managing director at Dish TV wrote in the letter that “Star India will exploit their monopoly status for maximising their subscription and advertisement revenue at the cost of consumers.” He further added that if Star India bags the telecast rights for IPL, the viewership of Star will skyrocket and distribution platforms such as DTH and multi system operators will have no choice but to subscribe to the Star Sports channels for cricket content.

What it means if Star holds all the rights

– More/continued restrictions for Media personnel: Take a look at the stringent guidelines for the ICC World Cup 2015, which prohibit media persons from providing match related scores, (match) results, images, commentary, whether via radio, TV, the Internet, mobile phones, without explicit permission of the ICC Development (International) Limited. Much more, here.

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– Possibly more notices for app developers: We’ve seen several instances of Star and/or BCCI sending mobile app developers warnings about publishing Cricket scorecards in their apps, or providing live commentary. Some examples (with the text for the notice):

– October-November 2013, India vs Australia
– February 2014 for Asia Cup
– April 2014, for the Indian Premier League 2014
– October 2014 for India vs West Indies

– Delayed scorecards from online news sites: Cricinfo and Cricbuzz were both forced to delay scorecards for their live ball by ball coverage last year, unless they paid Rs 10 lakh per match. More on that here.

With inputs from Shashidhar KJ

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Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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



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