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18 companies who bought the IPL tender and the territories they could bid for
MUMBAI: As many as 18 entities have purchased the invitation to tender (ITT) document for Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights at the close of the last date.
There will be a fierce contest between Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Star India for the TV rights. The digital rights for the cash-rich T20 league will also have bidders from new players. The international media rights are expected to witness fierce bidding for markets like Middle East and North Africa (MENA), UK, US and South Africa/Sub Saharan Africa.
The ITT document was available for purchase from 19 September to 18 October. The bid submission process will happen on 25 October. The BCCI is expected to announce the new rights holders the same day.
The BCCI has split the IPL media rights into three different packages. The Indian sub-continent TV rights are for 10 years (2018–27) while the Indian sub-continent digital rights are for five years (2018–22). The rest of the world (ROW) media rights are for five years (2018–22).
Sony versus Star
The Indian sub-continent TV rights are expected to be hotly contested between Star India and SPNI. ZEEL-owned Taj Television has also picked up the tender; however, it will not bid since it has sold its sports business to Sony for $385 million. ZEEL cannot enter the sports broadcasting business for four years due to non-compete clause.
However, the Indian sub-continent digital rights are generating tremendous interest with many new players entering the fray. Besides Star and Sony, other prospective bidders for the rights are Amazon Seller Services, which is gearing up to launch its online streaming service Amazon Prime Video in India, Reliance Jio Digital Services, which has a streaming service in Jio TV, and social media giants Twitter and Facebook, which are looking at having a live sports play in India in line with their international strategy.
In MENA, the main contest will be between Al Jazeera-owned media rights management company beIN IP and pay TV operator Gulf DTH FZ LLC. The IPL media rights will stir up the rivalry between Sky UK and BT PLC in the UK. Sky is the incumbent rights holder for the IPL in the UK.
Media rights for US
The US media rights could be contested between ESPN Digital Media India, which has picked up the tender, and Times Internet, which is a dominant player in the US cricket scene through Willow TV. Times Internet had acquired Willow TV in March.
South Africa sportscaster SuperSport and Johannesburg-headquartered telco Econet will vie for South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa rights.
Media agency GroupM Media India and law firm BTG Legal Services have purchased tenders just for studying the document.
There is another company about which it is not clear whether it has bought the tender for research purposes or whether it actually will take the plunge.
Chennai-based Followon Interactive Media is part of Technology Frontiers India, which is an affiliate of Global Sports Commerce, a Singapore-based sports technology and management firm which provides solutions, sponsorship management and consulting services to global sports bodies.
Incidentally, Technology Frontiers, which is also known as Tech Front, also distributes media rights globally. In fact, the company claims to own the IPL media rights in 133 countries excluding India, MENA, the USA, Europe, and Africa.
Commenting on the response the IPL tender process has received, BCCI president Anurag Thakur said, “This is going to be a historical moment for Indian cricket. I am pleased to see the overwhelming response from the media and technology companies for IPL media rights. With the global trends of showcasing content on multiple platforms becoming increasingly important, TV, internet and mobile rights are up for grabs together this time. To have as many as 18 prospective bidders in the fray reinstates the faith of market forces in the Indian Premier League.”
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