Sony retains rights to India cricket

New contract good through 2017

Sony’s Indian division MultiScreen Media and World Sport Group will keep rights to Indian Premier League cricket after an earlier 10-year contract was renegotiated.

Under the terms of the new contract, the duo will pay 82 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) through 2017 for the rights.

An earlier $1.02 billion contract was canceled March 15 over a sponsorship row between the Board of Cricket Control in India and MSM. MSM sued for a restraining order in Bombay High Court but failed to get one. BCCI threw open the bidding to other broadcasters, including NDTV and ESPN Star Sports, which were interested but in the end weren’t willing to pony up.

This is a bit of good news for BCCI. In recent weeks the org was forced to move IPL matches to South Africa, since the government refused to provide security for the matches, which start April 18 and would coincide with general elections.

The matches will air on SET Max. Analysts in India expect advertising to take a hit, due to the double whammy of a souring economy and the fact the games are being played overseas. Cricket matches will be played in the afternoon in South Africa so that they can air in primetime in India.

BCCI’s Lalit Modi put a positive spin on the tensions with MSM.

“We are absolutely delighted with the new deal inked today between WSG and MSM,” he was reported as saying in newspaper the Hindu. “We have the best deal for the league and Indian cricket fans alike. I am certain that MSM will pull out all the stops in ensuring that the best technology is utilized to deliver excellent content that is creative, innovative and enriching for the cricket fans in India and across the globe.”

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