With a bid of ₹16,347.5 cr, Star India wins IPL global rights for 5 years

Since Star India made an across the board strategic bid, covering the India broadcasting, digital and rest of the world rights for a higher sum, it became the undisputed leader of the pack that had in all 13 eligible bidders, including five major players putting down good numbers for the digital rights.

Mumbai Indians with the IPL 10 trophy earlier this year.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Media and entertainment company Star India demonstrated a big appetite and business acumen for an Indian cricket property by acquiring the IPL’s global broadcasting and digital rights for a consolidated sum of Rs. 16,347.5 crore ($2.55 billion) for a period of five years, starting from the 11th edition of IPL (2018). 

Sony Pictures Network (SPN) India’, which has been the broadcasting rights holder since the start of the Indian Premier League, made a Rs.11,050 crore bid for the India broadcasting rights alone. The sum of the parts of other bids for India broadcasting, digital and rest of the world rights was a close Rs. 15,819.51 crore.

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But since Star India made an across the board strategic bid, covering the India broadcasting, digital and rest of the world rights for a higher sum, it became the undisputed leader of the pack that had in all 13 eligible bidders, including five major players putting down good numbers for the digital rights.

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The difference was just a little over Rs. 500 crore, but with the new deal, the 21st Century Fox-owned Star India now owns BCCI’s global media rights, ICC and the IPL. The BCCI rights will end in March 2018.

Three agencies — Deloitte, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and SportsMechanics — had evaluated the technical bids before the financial bids were opened.

Chairman and CEO of Star India, Uday Shankar, expressed happiness at the bid process: “I would like to convey my delight for being able to bring the IPL (to Star India) to what we believe is the rightful home of cricket in this country and elsewhere. The IPL is a very powerful property. We believe that a lot more value can be created for the cricket fans on broadcasting and digital platforms and we would remain very committed to make sure that the growth of sports in the country is driven by the power of cricket. 

“It was a conscious call to bid for the global rights, we have significant presence in all forms and markets. In India we have an exciting and robust platform and our channels are globally distributed. It made sense for us to make an attempt and win it for all the markets. Everyone picked up their areas of strength and aspiration and put in their value. I would like to compliment the BCCI for running an immaculately transparent process,’’ he said.

When asked if the magical winning figure was on the higher side, Shankar said: “Even had it been slightly less, we would not have got the rights; that should tell this is the right figure. In every category, it has been competitive. Digital did not even exist ten years ago, and here there were three who bid in excess of Rs. 3000 crore. Cricket continues to be very strong and very attractive in this country. Whoever puts in the money believe in the fans of the sport and universally the fans continue to grow and remain healthy. India, cricket and IPL...all three have dramatically changed since 2008.’’

An individual, who was part of the bid opening process at the Taj Mahal Hotel, said: “SPN would have been disappointed, not strictly though from a business point of view, but for an emotional connect. It held the rights for ten years. But it has other cricket properties in other countries and many other sports properties.’’

In all, 24 companies had picked up the Invitation to Tender (ITT) and 14 made bids. After the technical bids, the Walt Disney-owned American video supplier, BAMTech was disqualified because it did not fulfil certain criteria. The other 13 who made the final cut were Star India, SPN (India), BeIN (Qatar), the UK-based Perform Group, Follow On, Yupp TV, OSN, Facebook, Airtel, Econet, Reliance Jio, Super Sport and Times Internet.