Fox's Star India Bags Indian Cricket Rights for $940 Million

Cricket match -Virat Kohli celebrates reaching his century during the 3rd Momentum ODI match February 07, 2018 - Getty-H 2018
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The deal covers worldwide TV and digital rights for all international cricket matches to be played in India from 2018-2023.

Fox’s Star India has retained worldwide TV and digital rights for all international cricket matches to be played in India through 2023 in a $940 million deal.

The TV giant outbid rivals Sony Entertainment Television and Indian telecom major Reliance Jio.

Star previously paid $750 million for the 2012-2018 rights. The sport’s governing body, the Board for Control of Cricket in India, auctioned the rights across three categories: global television rights and rest of the world digital rights, digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone and the global consolidated rights comprising worldwide TV and digital rights.

Star bagged the consolidated rights, which will not only bolster its sports network, but also boost content for its popular digital platform Hotstar, which competes with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. In a first of sorts, to ensure a more transparent bidding process, the BCCI conducted an electronic auction, which ran for three days starting Tuesday where bidders could only see the amounts being offered without knowing the identity of the bidder.

With this deal, the network has further tightened its grip on India's most popular and lucrative sport. Star India also has rights for events organized by cricket’s parent body, the International Cricket Council, from 2015 to 2023, which include two cricket World Cups and two World Twenty20 events.

Last year, Star India beat previous rights holder Sony by paying a record-breaking $2.55 billion for 10-year rights to the popular Indian Premier League cricket property, which kicks off this weekend. Offering a heady mix of Bollywood and cricket, some IPL teams are owned by top stars. For example, Shah Rukh Khan owns the Kolkata Knightriders, while actress Preity Zinta's team is called Kings XI Punjab. Sony has rights to seven international cricket boards including England and Wales, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe.