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Star India buys Indian cricket rights for USD 944 million
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Star India buys Indian cricket rights for USD 944 million

Indian cricket’s rags-to-riches broadcast rights story (1:19)

From once paying the national channel to broadcast cricket to earning millions every game, the BCCI has come a long way (1:19)

Star India has strengthened its hold on television and digital rights to cricket in India by retaining worldwide rights to Indian cricket for INR 6138 crore (USD 944 million) for the period 2018-23. They now hold the two most valuable broadcast rights in cricket, having bought the IPL rights for INR 16,347.5 crore (US$ 2.55 billion) in September 2017 for the period 2018-22.

Star’s winning bid was an increase of 59% from the previous cycle of Indian cricket rights, which were sold for INR 3851 crore (USD 750 million at the time) for the period 2012-18, also to Star. The rights cycle will commence from April 15 this year until March 31, 2023.

The average cost per match for the Indian cricket rights sold on Thursday was about INR 60 cr (USD 9.2 million approx.), which is higher than the average cost per IPL game for the 2018-22 period – INR 54.5 cr (USD 8.4 million approx.).

The rights to Indian cricket were sold via an e-auction – the first of its kind in sport – that spanned three days. Star India, Sony Pictures Network India, and Reliance were the competitors when the e-auction began at 2pm on Tuesday, after the BCCI’s legal team had carried out technical and feasibility checks on the bidders.

Once the e-auction restarted on Thursday morning, participants had 30 minutes to raise after every bid, unlike on Tuesday and Wednesday, when they had an hour after every bid to make a higher bid. The process continued until participants indicated that they did not wish to bid higher. There were three categories of rights on sale: the Indian television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and the global consolidated rights (GCR) for which the winning bid was eventually made.

Star India now gets telecast 102 men’s international matches over the five-year period, compared to 96 in the previous six-year cycle from 2012 to 2018. The 102 matches will be split among the home seasons as follows: 18 in 2018-19, 26 in 2019-20, 14 in 2020-21, 23 in 2021-22 and 21 in 2022-23. The rights will also include men’s domestic matches as well as the India women’s international matches.

The e-auction had begun at 2pm IST on Tuesday, and the process closed at 6pm that day with highest bid at INR 4442 crores (USD 680 million approx.) The bidding resumed at 11am on Wednesday and ended at 6pm at INR 6032.50 crore (USD 925 million approx). On Thursday, the bids rose in smaller increments: INR 6061.05 cr, INR 6085.30 cr, INR 6111.70 cr, INR 6111.70 cr, and finally INR 6138 cr.

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