Star Sports is re.imagining the Indian Premier League with many firsts for the sport of cricket. IPL’s journey with Star India has started on a record financial note, when the 21st Century Fox-owned network acquired the IPL Media Rights for ₹16,347.5 crore for a period of five years. That roughly averages ₹51 crore per match @ 64 games per season.
A value-added television experience for each of the IPL content consumer was the next big goal for the broadcaster, which came up with the re.imagine marketing pitch for the biggest sports property in cricket and India. Star has been setting new benchmarks with its IPL broadcast strategy – it has continued to evolve and re.imagine as the league progressed. The IPL Grand Finale broadcast plans across 17 screens, in eight languages, is a testimony to Star India’s commitment to re.imagine the league.
The cost and effort of taking the live broadcast to new heights is as awe-inspiring as Star India’s commitment to pay ₹16.347.5 for the IPL media rights. The IPL production for each match involves 700-800 people and costs the broadcaster up to ₹2 crore. “The production cost of a match in IPL ranges from Rs 60 lakh to Rs 2 crore depending on the match. 700-800 people together are working hard towards the production of IPL 2018 including the regional feeds,” says a Star India spokesperson.
The matches are produced with 28 to 32 cameras, which also include drones to provide a birds-eye view of the stadium. There 16 DSNG OB satellite up-linking vans in place for live telecast of a match. Eight vans work on the world feed, four on the Hindi feed and rest on the regional feeds.
Star also provides tailor-made content for core cricket followers contextualised with a deep and passionate understanding from expert commentators and panellists through Select Dugout on Star Sports Select. It is an experience that extends beyond traditional ball-by-ball commentary, providing fans with a richer analytical experience, interactive demos with experts, before, after as well as during the matches. Star even added new arenas like a gaming experience WatchN’Play as well as virtual reality feeds.
Come the Grand Finale and Star is ready with its grand plans – rising to the occasion. Star will add Marathi and Malayalam feeds for the IPL finale. The decision is prompted by a high demand for IPL content in the two regional languages. “On social media there was a lot of demand for the Marathi commentary. The attempt is to make the broadcast of the finals available to the widest possible audience. Any region that we felt was potentially underserved by our current offering, we decided to add it to the mix which is Marathi and Malayalam,” says the spokesperson. Star Pravah and Asianet will be the channels to host the respective languages. “We want the IPL finals to be a landmark event in Indian television, 17 channels will be airing it in eight different languages.”
The IPL final will be telecast on 17 different channels across the Star network – Star Sports 1 English, Star Sports 1 HD English, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Select SD English, Star Sports 1 Select HD English, Star Plus SD, Star Plus HD, Star Pravah SD, Star Pravah HD, Star Gold SD, Star Gold HD, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Movies, Star Jalsha Movies and Asianet Movies.
According to the numbers provided by the broadcaster, its OTT platform, Hotstar was viewed by 5.5 million viewers in virtual reality (VR) in week six. 30-35 per cent of the viewers watched it live and the remaining watched it in highlights.