STAR Group, the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcast network, has bagged the media rights for international cricket played in India. Valued at Rs 3,851 crore, the agreement with BCCI, the national governing body for all cricket in India, is for a period of six years (from July 2012 till 2018) and covers 96 matches.
On an average, the STAR Group will pay about Rs 40 crore per match to the BCCI, up from the Rs 32.5 crore per match that came in from Nimbus before its contract with the BCCI was terminated last year on the claim that Nimbus had defaulted on payments.
The new deal stands in collaboration with ESPNCricinfo and includes the broadcast, internet and mobile rights for the tourneys played in India.
Commenting on the development, Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, says, "BCCI is a great property and we are overjoyed to have an opportunity to develop it further. It was decided amongst ESPN-STAR Sports, ESPN and STAR that STAR would bid for the rights and if it won the rights, it would be exploited in collaboration with ESS."
While the tenders were filed by five media companies - STAR India, ESPN Software, Multi Screen Media (Sony), Zee Entertainment and Times Internet - the BCCI received bids from ESS; Sony; Bennett, Coleman &Co. (BCCL); and a consortium involving TV-18 and Reliance.
The final bid took place only between STAR and Multi Screen Media, wherein Sony emerged as the second highest bidder for an amount of Rs 3,700 crore.
Meanwhile, STAR acquired the rights to broadcast domestic events such as Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy.
For the record, the board's marketing committee set the price for category A games at Rs 31.25 crore per match plus Rs 1 crore, while category B games were set at Rs 34 crore (approx $6.67 million) plus Rs 1 crore.
The BCCI decided to call for fresh tenders after it cancelled its four-year (from 2010 onwards) contract with Nimbus due to payment defaults. The deal was worth Rs 2000 crore.
The matter was subsequently referred for arbitration, with the Bombay High Court ruling that Nimbus must deposit Rs 305 crore with the court as security for the amount the BCCI claims it is owed by the company.
Meanwhile, Nimbus has also made a counter-claim of Rs 600 crore from the board.