STAR retains Indian territory in FIH buy back

FIH Star sports

STAR Sports and International Hockey Federation (FIH) have reworked their existing eight-year FIH rights global deal. Under the new agreement FIH has bought back the international rights from STAR from 2019 onwards. The broadcaster exclusively retains the India rights.

InsideSport has reported yesterday that FIH has bought back the exclusive global rights granted to STAR for the 2015-2022 period (both years included). Star has confirmed the partial buy back.

Under the revised agreement STAR will remain the exclusive global broadcaster, excluding Argentina, for the FIH events until 2018. However, once the ambitious FIH global leagues gets underway from 2019, STAR will only retain the exclusive rights for the territory of India, which includes India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal.

A Star India spokesperson said: “Star Sports is committed to building a multi-sport culture in India and hockey is an important part of this strategy. The new FIH event portfolio will bring a high volume of men’s and women’s matches to India and Indian fans will get to cheer their team on home grounds. With fantastic performances from the Indian men’s and women’s team in recent years, Star Sports is excited about focusing on the Indian fan and giving them the best of Indian hockey every week with the new Hockey Pro League. The success of the Indian men’s team is in large part due to their exposure to the world’s best players in the Hockey India League and Star Sports’ commitment to the league remains strong as ever.”

STAR Sports held global media rights for the FIH events for all the territories, excluding Argentina. As part of the unprecedented multi million dollar deal, STAR had right and obligation to distribution the content to 200 countries.

The deal had granted STAR Sports exclusive global rights to broadcast big ticket events like the quadrennial World Cups, the annual World League and the biennial Champions Trophy competitions.

STAR with its production strategies and aggressive approach was in the process of transforming hockey as yet another sport for television audience. The sport in the past two years had seen up to 19-cam coverage, instead of standard eight cameras and introduction of cutting edge technologies for value addition to live broadcast and replays.

STAR Sports will however continue to broadcast Hockey India’s HIL which is HOCKEY INDIA’S property. As per the sources, lukewarm response from the sponsors and abysmal ratings for the sport is the reason for STAR and FIH to part ways. Another reason attributed to the split is restructuring of FIH’S calendar. FIH has very recently made announcements on its ambitious plans of launching HOCKEY PRO LEAGUE. The six-month long home and away competition will commence from January next. The competition will have best nine teams in both men and women’s categories in fray. It seems the idea of restructuring the entire FIH calendar did not go down well with STAR SPORTS.