IPL is a powerful property and can create lots of value for fans: Uday Shankar, Star India
The suspense around the IPL bidding rights has finally come to a close. Star India has won all the broadcasting rights for VIVO IPL starting from the next season for a sum of Rs. 16, 347.50 crore and this sure is another feather in the cap for Star’s long list of broadcasting sports events, including cricket.
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India, expressed his gratitude at the press conference following the win. He said, “I would also like to thank the BCCI for finding us as an appropriate partner and trusting us. I would also like to compliment the BCCI for running such an immaculately transparent process. We believe that IPL is a very powerful property and that there is a lot more value that can be created for the fans and viewers through digital as well as on TV. We would remain committed and make sure that the growth of sports in this country continues.”
Uday Shankar then took the hot seat to answer journalists present at the venue.
With the Indian Cricket team’s broadcasting rights expiring with Star by the end of March next year, Shankar was asked how Star looks to approach the new bidding rights and how serious would they be about it. He said, “Give me a break, we have just won the IPL rights, I haven’t recovered my breath yet! We have the India rights for a few months and after that it is for the BCCI to decide. You have seen how competitive BCCI cricket rights are. This is where we are with the IPL rights. You can imagine the level of competition in the next set of rights. It would not be right for me to comment on that now. We have a lot of cricket now between the IPL and ICC and I think we can run very good business with it.”
On comparing the rights earned by Sony in 2008, he was asked if the price was a tad too high in 2017. He said, “If it was slightly less, we would have not won the rights and that should tell you this is the right figure. When one person or one company bids very highly then you can ask this question. But you have seen that in every category it has been so competitive. This should tell you that cricket continues to be very strong, very healthy and very attractive in this country. It is that whoever puts the money believes in the fans of the sport and the universe of cricket fans continues to be healthy. So, what was back in 2008, Cricket, India and IPL have changed a lot since then.”
When asked if Star was better placed than its competitors, Shankar chose not to comment on the matter by saying, “It’s not for me to comment on whether Star was best placed as compared to others. You are in the business of judging and you should do that. However, as you can see from our bidding numbers, we made a very conscious call that we will bid for the global rights. We have a Television platform and a digital platform too, which we look to spread across the world. Our channels are globally distributed, so it makes sense for us to think about all the markets. I’m sure everybody picked up their areas of strength and aspiration and put in their best value there.”
BCCI has been surrounded by various controversies every now and then and he felt no compulsion to comment on the situation of the Indian cricketing administrative body and said that he is prepared to focus on broadcasting the sport. He added, “Regardless of whatever has happened, India is one of the countries where when a match happens on the ground it is an amazing experience. It happens because of a collaboration of the people on the ground and the people who watch it on TV and we look only at that part.”
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