Ten years ago if a broadcaster had shelled out an exorbitant Rs 16,347.5 crore or $2.55 billion for IPL media rights, it would have been labelled ‘mad’. As it turned out, this is exactly the amount Star Sports under the Star India umbrella paid, albeit a decade down the line, to get Indian Premier League rights for the next five years till 2022. The amount was almost three times more than what Sony, the previous TV rights holders, had paid for ten years in 2009. Now, Star is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that it brings best viewing experience for the fans.
It has decided to bring together the power of TV and digital (Hotstar) platforms to reach out to a whopping 700 million viewers which will be a massive gain on 550 million viewers that were reached last year. The cash-rich league will be broadcast in as many as 6 different languages across 10 different channels by Star. Apart from Hindi and English, the fans will also be able to enjoy IPL in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Kannada.
Talking about the league, Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director, Star India said that they want to provide a never-before-seen sporting experience for the viewers. He said that the technological innovation will be at the heart of this entire spectacle.
“The decade-old Indian Premier League is one of the most loved sporting events in the country. At Star, we want to reimagine IPL to give our viewers a never-before sporting experience. By leveraging the combined reach of television and digital media, through our 10 channels in six different languages, we aim to reach out to 700 million fans across geographies. Technical innovation is at the heart of the experience, bringing the stadium home and giving fans an interactive and immersive viewing experience,” he said.
Apart from IPL, Star Sports also holds the rights for Pro Kabaddi (PKL), Hockey India League (HIL), FIH Hockey events, Indian Super League (ISL), badminton, Formula 1, Bundesliga, English Premier League.
Currently, its dominance in India can be compared to the monopoly held by Sky Sports in the UK which was only challenged recently by BT Sports when they acquired the UEFA Champions League and Premier League rights to 42 games.
This year Indian Premier League is expected to be bigger than ever, with all the players going back to the auctions, scheduled to take place in Bangalore on January 27 and 28. “Since most of the capped players will be back in the auction, it will be a mega auction that will be held in Bangalore on January 27 and 28. Since Bangalore has been hosting all previous auctions, that was the choice of franchises,” a senior BCCI official said on Tuesday, confirming the auction date.