Media baron Rupert Murdoch-led Star Group has won the television and digital rights for all domestic and international cricket matches in India for a six-year period from July this year for Rs 3,851 crore, giving the country’s cricket board a revenue of around Rs 40 crore per match.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) contract from July 2012 to March 2018 tops the Rs 32.5-crore per match deal that Nimbus Communications had paid for the previous deal with the board.
“It’s a big number and it will be a huge challenge to recover the cost. But then the fundamentals in Indian cricket are just right. The interest in cricket is only going to grow,” said Uday Shankar, CEO, Star Group.
Star, which has a joint venture with global broadcaster ESPN, beat Multi Screen Media, which runs the Sony channel and owns telecast rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) in winning the deal. MSM had bid Rs 3,700 crore.
“In association with ESPN, we are confident of giving a great coverage to Indian cricket. We already have the channels. If there is a need to open another channel, we can always explore it,” said Shankar.
ESPN-Star also owns the telecast rights of all International Cricket Council events and the rights for domestic cricket in England and Australia.
BCCI fell out with its current broadcast partner, Nimbus, over defaulting on payments after which the broadcasters’ game was thrown open wide again.
The BCCI-Nimbus deal was for around Rs 2,000 crore and signed for four years. BCCI scrapped the agreement in December last year after Nimbus failed to pay up.