Home / Industry / Star, Vodafone tie-up for sports on mobile

New Delhi: Vodafone consumers can now subscribe to a mobile Internet service for score updates and video clips for the upcoming season of the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) and some other tournaments following a content partnership between Star India Pvt. Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd, the broadcaster announced on Thursday.

Star said it will also deliver information, interactive video scorecards, analysis and highlights of sports such as football, tennis and hockey. The subscription service is being touted as one of Star’s major deals in offering sports content across platforms.

Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer, Star India said, “We are both working together and will invest substantially in this endeavour. Vodafone will invest in the network and getting the 3G infrastructure in place and content. We will invest in the rights as well as quality content curation." He added that the company will follow up with entertainment content for mobile devices. “We want to focus on sport and iron out all the creases before we get into anything else," he said.

The deal comes after Star announced last month that it had licensed the digital distribution rights for the 2014 edition of IPL from Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of The Times of India Group. A Times Internet executive confirmed that Star had sought the mobile video-on-demand rights from the company.

Vivek Mathur, chief commercial officer, Vodafone India said the initiative complemented the company’s strategy to expand its digital offering and tailor it to mobile Internet users who are increasingly consuming content on-the-go. He said matches can now be streamed to its mobile subscribers on-the-go without any legal hurdles. “Since the content is fully owned by Star, it is not going to have legal ramifications," he said.

Other than the digital rights of IPL, Star India also owns the rights to all Champions League T20 and some ICC tournaments. It is also the title sponsor of BCCI’s international and domestic matches from October 2013 to March 2014. Star India won the sponsorship rights for the Indian cricket team in December after the BCCI disqualified the Sahara group. Thursday’s deal is seen by some experts as an indication of the growing popularity of video on mobile platforms.

“The format for video on mobile at a predictable price is not new. What’s new is consistently picking prime time properties with the best content providers," said Raghu Venkataraman, head for Big Data and Digital Services at Nielsen India.

Gouri Shah contributed to this story.

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