Facebook loses bid to stream Indian cricket tournament

The IPL which is broadcast around the world is hugely popular for its mix of sport and showbiz with a number of teams fronted by big Bollywood names

Media and entertainment company Star India have acquired the IPL's global broadcasting and digital rights for a consolidated sum of $ 2.55 billion for a period of five years.

"We know that Sony already has the 11,000 crore that it was ready to put on line for the IPL rights, Star though is ready to up the game".

In 2008, Sony Pictures Network won the IPL media rights for a period of 10 years with a bid of Rs 8200 crore.

IPL would now be broadcast on any of Star India's channels and would also be live streamed on hotstar - Star's digital platform - for the next five seasons.

After the IPL media rights auction even Star India CEO Uday Shankar said that given the competitive environment around the India Cricket rights, getting the IPL rights was top focus for the broadcaster.

Star which holds the right for Indian cricket till March 2018, has planned to go the full distance to get it back when the BCCI opens the bid next year. Although 24 companies picked up the Invitation to Tender, only 14 companies have filed their bids.

"We believe the IPL is a very powerful property, and we believe there is lots more value that can be created for fans of cricket on digital and TV", Shankar said. With the Indian sports broadcasting market becoming a duopoly between Sony and Star, competition was expected to be high.

Bidders for digital rights included Supersport, Facebook, Airtel, Bamtech and Jio.

Another key change, which has proved influential, is reducing the bid duration from 10 years to five. Moreover, there is huge buzz in the social media about the IPL Media Rights 2017.

Pointing out that Star would "continue to work within the law" in an effort to get better return on investment, especially now that it has invested heavily in IPL too, Shankar jocularly added, "We'd have to figure out something or we have a problem".

The rights on offer are Indian subcontinental television rights, which is the most coveted along with digital rights of the Indian subcontinent.

The bidding process was one of the most keenly watched events in the cricket calendar this year and massive interest for its television rights is proof of the brand value of IPL.

During this bidding process, as many as seven rights were up for bidding.

"Given what is happening in terms of both, the excitement that sports in general and cricket in particular has continued to generate in this country, despite everything that is written in the media and all the issues that have come up, it has given credence to our faith in the continued power of cricket".

The new deal means each match will cost Star roughly $8.5 million, making the IPL one of the richest sports leagues in the world.

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