“We are delighted to bring IPL to the rightful home of cricket in India and elsewhere,” was the reaction from an elated and proud Star India chairman and CEO Uday Shankar soon after winning the IPL media rights bid for a “right” amount.
Star India has won the IPL media rights for a whopping $ 2.55 billion (Rs. 16347.5 crore), almost a threefold rise per annum on what Sony had committed eight years ago. “What was paid in 2008 was in 2008. India, cricket and IPL have changed drastically since 2008. It is (the Star bid) is a reflection of that,” says Uday about the highly competitive bid his team had won.
“We are delighted to bring IPL to the rightful home of cricket in India and elsewhere,” The Star group chairman asserted at the Press conference in Mumbai after winning the bid.
“We believe that the IPL is a powerful property and lots of value can be created in the digital (world) and on TV for fans,” Uday Shankar said justifying Star’s approach to bid for the digital and TV rights. “We had a viewpoint that Star would be able to create complete experience since we have both the TV and digital mediums. We already have global presence with TV broadcast. Now we will go worldwide with our digital platform (Hotstar).”
Pointing out that Star would “continue to work within the law” in an effort to get better return on investment, especially now that it has invested heavily in IPL too, Shankar jocularly added, “We’d have to figure out something or we have a problem.”
Shankar was also of the opinion that the digital presence has also exceeded everybody’s expectation in India. “As a country, we were told India was not broadband-ready (but) in less than two years India has emerged as one of the exciting markets (for digital players),” he said, adding that a better broadband infrastructure and cheaper data prices would further boost the market for online video consumption in India.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri echoed Uday’s views: “You have to understand that digital market is growing very rapidly, the increase in bandwith and connectivity for all the major digital players have also helped. The IPL is the catalyst for the growth of their (STAR) business.”
With Star holding all major cricket rights, the business is all set to skyrocket as the BCCI CEO has rightly said.