According to sources, Sony beat ESPN Star Sports as well as Prasar Bharti Corporation. The Prasar Bharti bid was far below the SET bid. The $375-million payment will be made instalments between 2002 and 2007.
According to sources, the package is for both satellite and terrestrial broadcasting rights. SET will be paying between $250m and $275m for the satellite rights, while advertising sources in touch with the arrangements estimate the terrestrial rights to be in the range of $90-100m.
The broadcasting rights will cover the Indian sub-continent. The package also has options to extend the broadcasting footprint to other parts of South and Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East.
SET’s possible strategy in acquiring the terrestrial rights is to cut out Doordarshan and therefore make international cricket exclusively with the Sony Sports channel.
Six parties initially were in the race when the bids opened in November last year. Based on financial soundness, track record and the ability to contribute to the game of cricket, three bidders — ESPN Star Sports, Sony and Prasar Bharti were short-listed. By end-January it was sure that the bid will go in favour of SET.
The acquisition of these rights will enable SET Max to re-emerge as the top choice for the sports viewing and regain the lost ground. SET Max was originally conceived as an events-driven channel.