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Fox’s Star Pays $940 Million, Increases Stranglehold on Indian TV Cricket

21st Century Fox’s Star India will continue its lucrative hold over Indian cricket broadcasts. The company bid $944 million and beat out Reliance Industries and Sony Pictures Network India for broadcast and digital rights for all international cricket played in India from 2018 to 2023.

Star India is the incumbent in the field, having bid $750 million for the 2012-18 rights. Last year, it also won 2018-22 rights to the hugely popular Indian Premier League for $2.55 billion. The new deal gives Star the rights to 102 men’s international matches, and men’s domestic games and women’s international games.

An electronic auction, conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), began Tuesday and concluded Thursday. Bidders were able to see the value of other offers, but could not know which company had placed the bids.

The BCCI had put up rights in three categories: global television rights plus rest of the world digital rights package; Indian subcontinent digital rights package; and global consolidated rights package. Star’s winning bid was for the global consolidated rights package.

Cricket is an obsession in South Asia, and the ability to offer live coverage is a massive draw for India’s powerful pay-TV operators. The online rights increasingly have value as well. Facebook and Amazon were hefty bidders in the recent auction of Indian subcontinent digital rights for the IPL.

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