Star wins Indian cricket media rights

The winning bid was Rs 3851 crore and covers the BCCI's broadcast and Internet rights for the period July 2012-March 2018.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned Star group has won the BCCI media rights for the next six years, board president N Srinivasan announced on Monday.

The winning bid was Rs 3851 crore and covers the BCCI's broadcast and Internet rights for the period July 2012-March 2018, Srinivasan said at a press conference in Chennai. "The Star group will cover 96 international matches in the period at an average of Rs 40 crore per match as against Rs 32 crore that was being received from Nimbus," he added. The rights also cover all domestic competitions, including the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup; but not the Indian Premier League.

"This is a substantial improvement and the BCCI is very happy the media rights have been fully evaluated and now I think fully priced," Srinivasan said.

"Bids were submitted by Star and Multi Screen Media (MSM) and after following a transparent process of verifying the eligibility of each bidder, bids were opened in front of both the parties and the winner chosen," he added.

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.

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.

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," he stated.

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.

Bennett & Coleman had recently won the four-year IPL internet and mobile rights for Rs 2.616 billion ($58 million).

The need to float the television mobile-internet tenders arose after the BCCI, on December 12 last year, scrapped the existing contract of Nimbus after the company repeatedly defaulted on payments.

Nimbus was allotted the four-year contract (April 1, 2010-March 31, 2014) and was paying Rs 31.25 crore for every Test/ODI/Twenty20 International played in the country.

Nimbus had been the BCCI's broadcast partner for five years. It first signed a four-year deal in 2005-06 and renewed the contract in 2009-10 after being offered first right of refusal.

"Given the confidentiality provisions of such contracts, Nimbus is unable to discuss details with the media, but can confirm that it has acted in compliance of its contractual obligations and variations agreed between the parties from time to time," Nimbus had said a day after its contract was terminated.

The matter has subsequently been referred for arbitration, with the Bombay High Court ruling that Nimbus must deposit Rs 305 crore 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 crore from the board.

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