Star India and Uday Shankar ready for a long shot

Under Shankar’s stewardship, Star has now touched an aggregate of Rs. 34,365 crore to own ICC’s audio-visual rights for 2015-2023, IPL for 2018-2022 and the BCCI’s home internationals for 2018-2023.

Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India (left) and BCCI Committee of Administrators (COA) member Diana Edulji at a press conference.   -  PTI

Uday Shankar, Chairman, Star India and President, 21st Century Fox Asia, has a passion for sport, indeed, but when it comes to cricket, he has shown the inclination to give it a long shot. On Thursday, he and Star India won the first e-auction of the BCCI Media Rights (2018-23) for Rs. 6138.1 crore.

Last September, Star India showed the business acumen to make a consolidated bid across all media platforms to win the IPL media rights for Rs. 16,347.50 crore and immediately said "It was not an outrageous sum." He believed that IPL has to come to its rightful home and won it with a single bid when pitted against some of the world famous media companies.

Around the IPL bid time, the bespectacled JNU alumni, had voiced concerns over the price tag put on Test matches played in India. It cost Star India a little over Rs.43.2 crore per match. "Obviously Star was not making money on Test matches,’’ said another television company official.

Read: Star bags Indian cricket media rights for Rs. 6,138.1 crore

At a press conference on Thursday, Shankar was asked if he found Indian cricket/BCCI rights difficult to let go and his answer was: "We had a number in mind. I think we settled well within the numbers we thought we could responsibly pay for. This is national cricket. It has a special value. 

"We are the biggest creator of content in Indian languages, and we believe that it is natural for the company to be the biggest destination of biggest Indian sport that is cricket. Like every great thing, the BCCI rights come a little expensive, but then good things have a price. Star and BCCI can transform the sporting experience of cricket for fans altogether.’’

Under Shankar’s stewardship, Star has now touched an aggregate of Rs. 34,365 crore to own ICC’s audio-visual rights for 2015-2023, IPL for 2018-2022 and the BCCI’s home internationals for 2018-2023.

The BCCI rights was expected to be driven by India subcontinent digital rights and SPN (India) stayed almost the race before being pipped at the post. There was heavy bidding for the last two years (2021-22 and 2022) with 35 ODI’s and Twenty20 matches scheduled as part of the ICC’s Future Tours Programme as against a mere nine Test matches.

"We do our own calculations and we believe that as we go further the sports market will get healthier in this country. There will be more and more people watching sports. Our focus has been relentless on expanding the population of sports fans.

"In the last few years we have grown the viewership of all forms of cricket. If the quality of television and digital experience go up, more and more people will watch cricket. And that’s what makes it worthwhile to be able to pay more,’’ concluded Shankar.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :