New Delhi: Star India Pvt. Ltd has retained the television broadcast and digital rights for all domestic cricket under the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the next five years at a whopping Rs6,138.1 crore (around $944 million), outbidding rivals such as Sony Pictures Networks India and Reliance Jio (Reliance Industries Ltd).

The digital rights are for the Indian subcontinent as well as the rest of the world (RoW). The second highest bid at Rs6,118.59 crore was Sony’s.

This is the first time that BCCI held a three-day e-auction, starting 3 April, in which three companies—Sony, Star and Reliance Jio—were eligible to bid for the global consolidated rights (GCR) for the 2018-23 cycle of India’s home bilateral series.

The current bid value is significantly higher than Star TV’s record 2012 bid of Rs3,851 crore.

The GCR comprises worldwide TV broadcast rights as well as digital rights for 102 matches (across three different formats) that India will play at home in the next five years. Star will pay Rs60.1 crore per match to BCCI, compared to Rs43.2 crore per match under the previous bid.

This win effectively establishes Star India’s monopoly over all cricket media rights, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) which it won for Rs16,347.50 crore (around $2.55 billion) in September 2017.

The Twentieth Century Fox company already has TV rights to all tournaments organized by the International Cricket Council, including the Cricket World Cup, as well as all matches of the Asia Cricket Council from 2016 to 2023.

Speaking at a press conference in Mumbai, Uday Shankar, chairman and chief executive of Star India, and president of 21st Century Fox Asia, said: “Our journey in the business of sports broadcasting started with the BCCI six years ago. No matter how popular other tournaments might be, associating with national cricket has a special significance. Our aim is to become the ultimate cricket destination and work together with the board to transform the sporting experience of cricket fans in the country."

Apart from its 12 sports channels across regional feeds, Star India has a strong presence in digital owing to its over-the-top video streaming platform Hotstar. Jigar Rambhia, national director, sports and entertainment partnerships at Wavemaker India, thinks that Star understands the distribution game and its bid is an investment for the future.

“While it may seem that Star has paid a hefty sum (Rs2,287 crore more) as compared to its previous bid, but one has to consider that digital was not as big five years ago as it is now and it will only grow further. To my mind, Hotstar is getting big and it should give high revenues as digital becomes more mature in the country."

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