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India cricket rights go to Murdoch’s Star TV group

Star India has won the television and digital broadcast rights for all home matches to be played by India's national cricket team over the next six years for INR 38.51 billion (US$749.9 million).

The Rupert Murdoch-controlled broadcast group pipped Multi Screen Media (MSM), owners of Sony Television in India, to the post for the rights to air 96 matches hosted by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) between July 2012 and March 2018.

Star India; ESPN Software India; Multi Screen Media (MSM) – which owns Sony TV in India; Zee Entertainment; and Times Internet each requested tender documents for the cricket rights. However, only Star and MSM put forward final bids, the BCCI disclosed when announcing the winner on Monday (2 April) in Chennai.

MSM offered INR 37 billion for the BCCI broadcasting rights.

"The BCCI is very happy with the deal. Now the media rights have been fully evaluated and fully priced with Star coming out with a such a deal," N Srinivasan, president, BCCI, told reporters.

"Following a transparent process of verifying the eligibility of each bidder, the winner was chosen," he added.

The rights cover all matches played by India's national team on home soil, including internationals and domestic events such as the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, and Irani Trophy.

The deal will see Star pay an average of INR 400 million per match for television, mobile and internet broadcasting rights. This compares to the INR 322.5 million a match committed by Nimbus before its contract was terminated by BCCI in late 2011, due to payment defaults.

Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star Group India, promised that the pay-TV network would provide good match coverage.

"I thank the BCCI for giving Star the broadcast rights. In collaboration with our partners ESPN, we will do a commendable job," he said.

The ESPN-Star Sports joint venture already holds the rights of all ICC events and also the rights of domestic cricket in England and Australia.

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