ESPN-Star Sports (ESS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corp, has acquired the exclusive telecast rights of the English Premier League (EPL) for three years more. The broadcaster has already been associated with the EPL (also known as Barclays English Premier League) since 1995.
The rights include the telecast of all 380 EPL matches each season. The bidding for the league started around October 2012. Multi Screen Media (MSM) and Nimbus Sports also submitted bids for their channels, Sony Six and Nimbus Sports. It was learnt that ESS with a bid of $145 million won the rights on a price closer to that of MSM's bid of $125 million.
In the previous cycle, the broadcaster had earned the rights for $45 million, as per industry sources. In the terms of Indian currency, the conversion rate for a dollar to rupee was Rs 45 to one dollar in the previous cycle, which is now in the range of Rs 55 to one dollar.
The bidding initiated by EPL covers Asia and Australasia. The region includes South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and East Timor, Japan, Malaysia and Brunei, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, North Korea, Pacific Islands, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
This does not include the Singapore territory since the non-exclusive broadcast rights for the region were already awarded to SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications) for the seasons 2013/14-2015/16. The matches will continue to be available online on miostadium.com and on mobile via SingTel's BPL application.
ESPN-STAR Sports' television networks include ESPN, STAR Sports, STAR Cricket, ESPNews, ESPN HD and STAR Cricket HD. The network also hosts a broadband network (ESPN player), digital content services (espnstar.com, mobileespn) and an on-ground event management arm.
Earlier this year, the STAR Group, the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcast network, 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.