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Star India gets even more formidable with hat-trick victory for Cricket

06-April-2018
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Star India gets even more formidable with hat-trick victory for Cricket

Cricket is not just a game, it is a lot more than that in India. Over the years, we might have moved from the tag of being a cricket only nation to a multi sports one but let’s not forget that in India cricket is still equal to religion. Three days intense bidding for the BCCI media rights for five years for domestic and international matches came to end on April 5 with Star India as winner.

It's a hat-trick for Star India, first with IPL 2018 then audio-video production rights for both BCCI domestic matches and IPL and now media rights for BCCI’s home matches. Star logged in the highest bid of Rs 6,138 crore (2018-2023) for Global Consolidated Rights Package. On a flat average, it culminates to Rs 60.18 cr per international game.

Uday Shankar, Chairman And CEO - Star India & President - 21st Century Fox, Asia shared his victory in a press conference at BCCI office and said, “Ever since we got into the business of sports broadcasting six years ago, our journey started with the BCCI rights. It will always be special besides the fact no matter how popular the tournaments might be but when national teams put on the national jersey and gets on the field that's a very special feeling. We never made any hesitation in admitting that we have a business in India and we are the biggest content creator in Indian languages and we believe it's only natural for us to be the biggest destination for sports in cricket. Having IPL and BCCI both gives us that special position. Like every great thing BCCI rights comes little expensive but then good things have value.”

On Star winning the rights, IPG Mediabrands India CEO, Shashi Sinha said, “ Uday has always taken big bold bets and this is another one. It never ends.”

With BCCI’s home matches in it's kitty, Star India will now have a monopoly in cricket. All the rights of major cricketing events is now owned by Star India including IPL for five years, ICC rights and now home matches for five years.

“For Star India, which already has the entire IPL rights and has all the ICC rights too, the favourable outcome on the India rights for the next five years gives it a clear monopoly over the domain of cricket,” said Sandeep Goyal owner of Mogae Media.

Star has monopoly in the digital space with it's OTT platform Hotstar, which is a biggest win for the broadcaster. Goyal said, “Competitors like Facebook and Google were expected to compete for rights this time but chickened out. Last time Amazon had been expected to be in the fray. But they too kept away from the IPL bidding and did not even surface for the India rights. The likes of Airtel had also put in an appearance at the time of IPL bidding. This time they too were conspicuously absent. Ajit Mohan, the CEO of Hotstar, has done a fabulous job over the past few months building Hotstar into a really hot property with over 100 million live subscribers.”

Now the big question that comes to mind is, how Star will monetise this property? How are they going to recover such big amount. Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO of South Asia Dentsu Aegis Network, thinks that these are long term properties and one can’t measure in one day. It will reflect over a period of time. “Star has IPL and now they have BCCI home matches media rights which puts them in a powerful position.Cricket has never let anyone down in India so far and am sure it will workout well for them,” he said.

On the similar front, Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World, said, “It's a long term planning. It should give results."

But Goyal believes that for advertisers on cricket, Star monopoly is not good news. He said that no longer can their media buying agents either play divide-and-rule or defer decision making on sponsorships and spots till the broadcaster starts to sweat. Star’s position is impregnable. It is Advantage Star all the way.

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