Rupert Murdoch's Star TV India Secures Cricket Rights for $757.6 Million

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The News Corp.-owned network's winning bid to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) covers cricket matches played in India till March 2018 which will also air on the network's joint venture ESPN Star Sports.

NEW DELHI - News Corp.'s Star India network announced Monday it had won broadcasting, Internet and mobile rights for cricket matches hosted in India from July 2012 till March 2018. Star India offered a winning bid of about $757.6 million (Rupees 38.5 billion) to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The rights cover a total of 96 matches which include tournaments featuring visiting teams Australia, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka. But the rights don't cover the annual Indian Premier League (IPL) – also administered by the BCCI with this year's season kicking off Wednesday - which are held by Multi Screen Media (MSM), the parent group that runs Sony Entertainment Television (SET).

MSM's rival bid for the domestic rights included an offer of Rupees 37 billion which lost out to Star India's winning bid of Rupees 38.5 billion. Star India will pay an average of about about $7.9 million (400 million rupees) for each match, compared with the $6.3 million (322.5 million rupees) paid by previous rights holders, Indian broadcasting group Nimbus.  The BCCI terminated its deal with Nimbus in December over payment defaults, three years ahead of the rights expiry period.

“This is a substantial improvement and the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) is very happy the media rights have been fully evaluated and now I think fully priced,” said BCCI president N. Srinivasan.

Star India also runs joint venture network ESPN Star Sports. “It was decided among ESPN Star Sports (ESS), ESPN and Star that Star would bid for the rights and if Star were to win, the rights would be exploited in collaboration with ESS,” said Star India CEO Uday Shankar while making the official announcement. “Right now, we have three sports channels - Star Sports, ESPN and Star Cricket - to broadcast the cricket on. However, if required we could explore the launch of new channels.”

ESPN-STAR Sports is a joint venture between Walt Disney and News Corp., and owns the rights to International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments in addition to domestic cricket in England and Australia.

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