Star TV bags rights to broadcast Indian cricket for 2012-18 period

Mumbai, Apr.2 (ANI): Star TV, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, has won the rights to broadcast Indian cricket for the period 2012-2018.

The deal, which also includes internet and mobile rights, is valued at Rs.3851 crores (approximately 750 million dollars) and covers 96 matches.

The rights cover all international cricket in India, and domestic competitions, including the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup.

It does not include rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League.

New Zealand's tour of India in August-September 2012 will be the first series to be broadcast by Star TV. It will be followed by the England tour at the end of the year and Australia's tour of India in February for a four-Test series.

Star TV will pay about Rs.40 crores (7.86 million dollars) for each match, which is more than the Rs.32.5 crores (6.38 million dollars) paid by previous broadcaster, Nimbus.

Farooq Abdullah, chairman of the BCCI's marketing committee, was quoted by Cricinfo, as saying that the pricing will be in two stages-Rs 32.2 crores for each match from 2012 to 2014 and Rs 43.20 crores for each match from 2014 to 2018.

"This is a substantial improvement [on the previous contract with Nimbus]," N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said.

"And, the BCCI is very, very happy that the media rights have been fully evaluated, and now, I think, fully priced," he added.

Star TV CEO Uday Shankar said that the broadcasting rights will be shared with ESPN, its partner in the ESPN Star Sports joint-venture.

"STAR India will work collaboratively with ESPN-STARSports to exploit the rights", Shankar said. "Right now, we have three sports channels-Star Sports, ESPN and Star Cricket to broadcast cricket. However, if required, we could explore the launch of new channels," Shankar said.

The deal gives Star and ESS a virtual stranglehold on marquee cricket events, since they already own the rights to ICC tournaments as well as cricket in Australia and England. The collaboration also owns rights to the Champions League Twenty20.

The board was forced to issue a new tender after it terminated its contract with Nimbus in December 2011, claiming the latter had defaulted on its payments.

The matter has subsequently been referred for arbitration, with the Bombay High Court ruling that Nimbus must deposit Rs 305 crores with the court as security for the amount the BCCI claims it is owed by the company.

Nimbus has also made a counter-claim of Rs 600 crores from the BCCI. (ANI)

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