Cricket balls are seen during a practice session (Photographer: Jack Atley/Bloomberg News)

Star Wins Cricket Broadcast Rights In India For Rs 6,138 Crore

Star India now has complete dominance over Indian cricket broadcast.

The company retained the rights for television and digital broadcast of international and domestic cricket matches in India for the next five years by bidding Rs 6,138.1 crore (about $950 million), according to Board of Cricket for Control In India’s acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury. That’s nearly 60 percent more than the value of the earlier contract it had secured in 2012.

Star India, among the assets which Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, beat Sony Pictures Network India and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., run by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani. By winning the BCCI auction, it now has rights to all cricket events in the second-most populous nation where the sport is followed like a religion. Last year, Star had won digital and television rights for the lucrative Indian Premier League, an annual T20 tournament, for over Rs 16,000 crore ($2.5 billion). Star India also has a strong international presence. In 2014, it was awarded the broadcast rights for International Cricket Council's tournaments from 2015-23 for $1.9 billion.

“We’ve always been disciplined in examining what rights we should participate in and kept our powder dry for these three,” Uday Shankar, president of 21st Century Fox in Asia, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

The BCCI will get an average of Rs 60.1 crore per game. That's more than the Rs 43 crore it got through its earlier deal with Star. This has also made broadcasting the Indian national team's games more lucrative than IPL matches.

Star Wins Cricket Broadcast Rights In India For Rs 6,138 Crore

Star India will telecast 102 international matches over the next five years compared to 96 in the previous deal.

  • 2018-19: 18 matches
  • 2019-20: 14 matches
  • 2020-21: 23 matches
  • 2022-23: 21 matches

According to Kunal Dasgupta, former chief executive of Sony Entertainment India's multi-screen media business, the costs of rights have gone up so much that it is not profitable anymore. “Certainly the loss of these rights as well as IPL will have a significant negative top line and profitability impact for Sony,” he told BloombergQuint.

He added that Sony will now have to focus on their core movie business and produce more hits to compensate the loss of profit from cricket.

(Corrects an earlier version that misstated the change in Star India’s bid from 2012)