IPL 2019: Star seeks permission for political ads during broadcast: Report

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Indian Premier League host broadcaster Star Sports has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India for a permission to play out political advertisements during the broadcast of the league games.

As the IPL Season 12 coincides with the General Elections in the country, the IPL host broadcaster looks at this as an opportunity to expand the ad sales base. For political parties, too, this is the best opportunity to reach out to their targeted voters across the length and width of the country from a single platform.

The IPL 2019 will be played from March 23 to May 19 whereas the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled across in seven rounds between April 11 to May 19.

Star India has thus requested BCCI to waive off the Media Rights Agreement clause that bars slotting of political and religious advertisements during transmission of games, live or recorded.

The broadcaster’s move is indicative of the “tremendous revenue potential” that can be expected from this election season. The ball is now in BCCI’s court and it is learnt that the board is yet to revert to Star, states a report by national daily Times of India.

“Slotting of any political and/or religious advertisements during transmission is not permitted,” reads Clause 8.6 (B) in the Media Rights Agreement signed between Star India and the BCCI.

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Star has acquired the IPL rights last year in a whopping five-year deal worth ₹ 16,347.5 crore between 2018 and 2022. This being the General Election and the ICC World Cup year the traditional sponsors have varied options, which have resulted in a marginal decline in the IPL ad sales. Franchisees are feeling the pinch the most. The broadcaster is positioned much better relatively.

The board might find it difficult to amend the clause, even though there is no legal hurdle in amicably amending a bilateral agreement.

The BCCI, particularly the Committee of Administrators (COA), will have to take a call on whether it is willing to waive off the said clause in the MRA with Star and if it does, the cricket board will be setting a precedent for the future. “Star and BCCI have had two rounds of talks over this. As of now, nothing has come out of it,” the paper has reported a source as saying.

A senior BCCI official though told insidesport.co on condition of anonymity that “any amendment to the MRA that has financial repercussions is unfair. Star has put a certain value to the media rights on what the deal brought on the platter00.”

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