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STAR keeps ICC broadcast rights, pays 80% more

Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai 

Rupert Murdoch's broadcast network STAR India will spend Rs 22,000 crore on cricket broadcast rights by 2023 after the latest audiovisual rights acquisition of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The governing body for cricket globally awarded the audiovisual rights for events between 2015 and 2023 to STAR India (in India) and STAR Middle East (Middle East and Africa).

The network is the incumbent satellite broadcaster for ICC events, having won these in 2007 for the eight-year cycle up to 2015. The last tournament in the current cycle is the 2015 ICC World Cup. The renewed contract contains 18 tournaments, including two ICC Cricket World Cups (2019 and 2023), two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments (2017 and 2021) and two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments (2016 and 2020).

STAR India won the bid at $1.98 billion (Rs 11,880 crore) sources said, 80 per cent more than the previous cycle's $1.1 billion. The other bidders from India were Multi Screen Media, Zee Entertainment Enterprises' Ten Sports and Nimbus' Neo Sports.

Apart from the ICC, STAR India holds rights to the cricket boards of three countries: India (2012-18), England (2013-19) and Australia (2013-17). In addition, the network is shelling out Rs 203 crore for the sponsorship of Team India for the 2014-17 period. It has paid the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) Rs 26 crore for title sponsorship rights of India matches played between October 2013 and March 2014. The network has also invested in the Indian Premier League as an associate on-ground sponsor and is paying the BCCI Rs 100 crore over three years.

STAR's investment is despite its decision to focus on non-cricket sport as well. The network used to spend 90 per cent of its sport expenditure on cricket.

According to STAR India Chief Operating Officer Sanjay Gupta, the network's investment in cricket will now account for 70 per cent of its investment in sport every year. He said while sport like football and, most recent, kabaddi, were finding traction with audiences, cricket continued to account for 90 per cent of sport viewership in the country.

Cricket provides an opportunity to make up to Rs 14-15 crore a day in sponsorship and advertising revenue.

The network has given kabaddi and football three to five years before the Pro Kabaddi League and Hero Indian Super League, respectively, break even.

First Published: Tue, October 14 2014. 00:44 IST