A critically needed break has come Rupert Murdoch-led Star Group's way in India as it has cliched a six year deal from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for all international and domestic matches. The deal is valued at Rs 3,851 crore.
This is a big win coming towards the channel that is lately wedged in between aggressive competitors in Viacom 18's Colors, Multi Screen Media's SET Max and Subhash Chandra's ZEE TV. In terms of sports, it also offers at least similar turf as SET Max has earlier walked away with the prized IPL broadcast rights that are valued for Rs 8,200 crore until 2017.
Clearly, this puts Star's possibility and negotiating power on a better wicket as they now stand to tap into viewers who tend to switch off from regular entertainment and, some, even soaps as is acknowledged to be normal in a cricket-obsessed country such as India.
The rights for these matches were with Nimbus earlier and the deal for this has now been scrapped. Effectively, it means that now Star will pay Rs 40 crore for an international, much more than what Nimbus paid at Rs 32.5 crore. According to reports, Multi Screen Media that already has the rights for the Indian Premier League matches, or the IPL, was the second highest bidder at Rs 3,700 crore. Star in association with ESPNCricinfo has bagged the domestic broadcast, internet and mobile rights.
"BCCI is a great property and we are overjoyed to have an opportunity to develop it further. It was decided amongst ESPN Star Sports, ESPN and Star that Star would bid for the rights and if Star were to win the rights it would be exploited in collaboration with ESS," said Uday Shankar, CEO Star India in an official statement.