British pay-TV rivals BT Sport and Sky Sports are in contention to acquire the Indian Premier League media rights for the territory of the United Kingdom. Incumbent BT Sport faces a stiff challenge from Sky Sports as its one-year contract with Star India comes to an end.
Star India, the exclusive media rights holder for cricket’s richest franchisee-based property, has reportedly asked the two broadcasters to submit their bids for exclusive rights by January 24.
Sky Sports and BT Sport have broadcast the IPL in the UK once each respectively ever since Star India had acquired IPL’s all media rights in 2018 for a five-year cycle at a whopping 16,347.5 crore.
The Indian broadcaster has now made a bit to sell the IPL right in the UK for the remaining three-year tenure of its deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Star had bagged the rights for the five-year cycle from 2018 to 2022.
SportsBusiness has reported that there were no restrictions on the other broadcasters in the territory to bid for the rights.
The sky had agreed on a long-term deal with Star India in 2018 but a formal contract was inked only for one season. Since Sky did not exercise its extension right last year, the deal had gone to BT Sport.
Star will now seek to fully monetize a rights agreement in the UK as it looks to benefit from the wider public interest in the sport in the wake of England’s 2019 Cricket World Cup win.
The IPL this year will feature 13 England players, including Eoin Morgan (Kolkata Knight Riders), Jason Roy and Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals) and Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
The cricket market in the country obsessed with football has opened up further following the Three Lions’ ICC World Cup title triumph last year.
Star’s international IPL broadcast deals in place in other key countries and regions include agreements with Fox Sports (Australia), Sky New Zealand, SuperSport (sub-Saharan Africa) and beIN Sports (the Middle East and North Africa). Television rights were sold to Willow TV in the US market with digital rights retained for exploitation on Hotstar.