Multi Screen Media and World Sport Group have signed on as the official broadcast partners for the IPL. The nine-year deal, that runs through till 2017, is worth Rs 8,200 crore. The new agreement, which is more than double the earlier deal signed last year for 10 years with the same two parties, gives Multi Screen Media the exclusive audio visual rights (in India) to all the 59 matches of the second edition of the IPL.
The development comes after the Bombay High Court had cleared the way for the BCCI to seek a new broadcast deal by rejecting a plea from Sony TV, which had challenged the Indian cricket board's decision to terminate its five-year deal to televise the IPL. Talks had failed because MSM, which holds the IPL contract under the Sony umbrella, wanted a non-terminable contract, which the BCCI/IPL refused to provide.
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, was "absolutely delighted" with the new deal. "We have what we believe to be the best deal for the DLF Indian Premier League and Indian cricket fans alike," Modi said. "I am certain that Multi Screen Media 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 indeed across the globe."
The IPL's relationship with Sony had turned rocky last month after the IPL lost out on a US$31.16 million deal because of a dispute between Sony and Big TV, a direct-to-home provider. Ties between the two dipped further after the subsequent resignation of Kunal Dasgupta, the then Sony CEO, who was known to be close to Modi. Sony is also understood to have been keen on re-negotiating the financial terms of its contract with the IPL and had concerns about the tournament's revised dates and some of the venues that were being considered.
Manjit Singh, the MSM CEO, said the deal helped reaffirm the broadcaster's commitment to the Indian subcontinent and the global cricket fan alike. "We are absolutely delighted to bring the exciting IPL line-up of Indian and international cricketers to the millions of cricket fans globally," he said. "At Multi Screen Media & World Sport Group we have done some pioneering work in showcasing cricket in an entertaining and informative way and we will continue to innovate and extend the excitement of cricket through the IPL. We look forward to a long and successful association with the IPL as the leagues global media rights partner."
Venu Nair, CEO, WSG said the objective was to place Indian cricket on the global sports calendar. "It's a task, that we have managed with great distinction," Nair said. "Today, fans across the world are looking forward to the start of season 2 of the IPL and we are happy to partner with Multi Screen Media to bring the league to a global audience."
With the tournament moving away from India, there is likely to be a significant international audience now. All matches will be telecast at 4 pm IST and at 8 pm IST in the evening to coincide with prime time for television audiences in India.