21st Century Fox-owned Star India has tightened its grip over Indian cricket after paying INR 6138 crore (US$944M) for the worldwide rights to show international matches played in the country between 2018-2023.
This comes after the company bought the rights to the lucrative IPL cricket tournament for US$2.6B in September 2017 for the period 2018-2022.
Star India beat out rivals including Sony Pictures Networks India and Reliance Industries and earlier in the process fended off interest from digital giants including Facebook and Google. It will now air 102 men’s international matches over the five-year period.
However, the most interesting element of the win was the process – the Indian cricket association BCCI used an e-auction, the first time that it has been used in sport. The process lasted three days and was not unlike a drawn out Ebay bidding process. The BCCI initially reduced the list of six bidders to three ahead of the auction starting on Tuesday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the three companies had an hour to put in bids before reducing this to 30 minutes on Thursday and as the increments that the companies were willing to pay reduced, Star India came out the winner.
Star India CEO Uday Shankar said that the rights had been more expensive than previously but that it had been a “good experience”. “The experience of the auction was great but it was like a movie that it just went on and on. It was good from BCCI’s point of view because it got them more revenue,” he said. “I don’t think a tender in any sport that has gone for as long. It took time to understand but it was a transparent process. You always knew who the highest bidder in each category was. You had enough time to process and react.”