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Bidding war on the cards as BCCI floats tender for IPL digital media rights

MUMBAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has floated tender for media rights relating to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The media rights package includes internet and mobile rights for Indian subcontinent and rest of the world besides broadcast rights for certain territories.

The base price of the rights has not been revealed. IPL COO Sundar Raman also refused to disclose the same.

A consortium of Times Internet Ltd (TIL) and Nimbus Communications had won the rights for four years in 2011. The TIL–Nimbus combine had bagged the rights with a winning bid of Rs 261.6 crore (Rs 2.62 billion).

The bid for IPL digital media rights promises to be a cracker of a contest considering the fact that Star India, which had sub-licensed the IPL streaming rights from TIL last year and Multi Screen Media (MSM), the broadcast rights holder for South Asia, are expected to pursue the bidding quite aggressively.

The entry of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, which is expected to roll out 4G services this year, is considered a strong possibility as IPL would be an ideal property for his 4G platform.

Moreover, the IPL media rights bidding will be a precursor to the bidding for the IPL broadcast rights which will expire in 2017. MSM and Star India were previously locked in a bidding war for the BCCI media rights which were eventually won by Star with a winning bid of Rs 3,851 crore (Rs 38.51 billion) compared to MSM’s bid of Rs 3700 crore (Rs 37 billion).

Star had recently renewed its media rights agreement with the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a whopping $1.98 billion. It had committed $1.1 billion for the previous eight-year cycle.

The tender document will be available at the BCCI headquarters from 11 am to 5 pm (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays, and excluding Sundays), from 22 January to 2 February 2015, at a cost of Rs 200,000 (non-refundable and non-adjustable).

The BCCI said that the bids should be submitted in person at 12 pm on 3 February which is also when the BCCI Marketing Committee meet to open and evaluate the bids.

According to the BCCI, the upcoming seasons of the IPL will be broadcast across the world through every technological medium available, thus reaching out to an even larger audience.

The digital medium, it said, is rapidly gaining in popularity and usage, with more and more fans relying on digital devices to follow their favourite teams and players before, during and after the matches.

The IPL will aim to enhance the viewing, digital and interactive experience for cricket fans across the globe by introducing diverse consumer-friendly innovations that will bring them closer to the action in their favourite sporting league, it added.