STAR India on Thursday won the title sponsorship rights for all international cricket matches held in India by agreeing to pay Rs 2 crore a match, 39 per cent lower than what Bharti Airtel had forked out to win the rights last year.
STAR India will have the rights for only six months from October 2013 to March 31, 2014, which would cover 13 international matches. That is because the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had given Bharti Airtel a six-month extension on its three-year contract that ended in March. Bharti Airtel decided not to renew the contract.
The deal makes sense for STAR India as it already has the broadcasting rights for all international cricket matches that will be played in India till 2019, for which it paid Rs 38 crore a match.
The lacklustre bidding was a clear reflection of the slowdown in the economy. Apart from STAR India, the only other company that showed interest was mobile phone manufacturer Micromax, which withdrew during the final bids. As a result, STAR paid the base price fixed at Rs 2 crore a match. Last year, there were over 10 companies that showed interest and six that eventually bid.
Sanjay Patel, honorary secretary, BCCI, said in a statement, “The bidders had the option of bidding for either the series between India and Australia or that between India and the West Indies or both. The marketing committee has awarded the title sponsorship rights for all series to be played in India in the 2013-14 season to STAR India Pvt Ltd and ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, at a fee of Rs 2 crore per international match.”
The title sponsorship also extends to domestic series including the Irani Cup, the Duleep Trophy, the Ranji Trophy, the Vijay Hazare KO, the Professor D B Deodhar Trophy and the Raj Singh Dungarpur Trophy. However, the bid money is paid based only on the number of international matches.
The move by Star India will strengthen their growing stranglehold in cricket where they are not only buying broadcasting rights but also sponsorship rights of big tournaments. It has forked out over US $ 3 billion on its association with cricket.
Star also has the broadcast rights of the England cricket board till 2019 (for $ 200million) as well as the Australia cricket board. It also has the broadcast rights to all International Cricket Council tournaments ($1.1 billion from 2007 to 2015) and the Champions League T-20 ($970 million from 2008 to 2017).
Apart from this, the broadcaster has also invested in the twenty-twenty tournament Indian Premier League as am associate on ground sponsor. The broadcaster will be pumping in Rs 100 crore over three years. Star India took up the sponsorship to tap into the viewership base of the popular tournament and promoted it's brand ideology 'Rishta Wahi Soch Nayi'.