Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Star India has strengthened its hold on television and digital rights in cricket by retaining worldwide rights to Indian cricket for INR 6138 crore (USD 944 million) for the period 2018-23. They now hold the two most valuable broadcast rights in cricket, having bought the IPL rights for INR 16,347.5 crore (US$ 2.55 billion) in September 2017 for the period 2018-22.
In addition to its Indian presence, Star also has a strong grip internationally, having paid USD 1.9 billion for the broadcast rights for ICC tournaments between 2015-23.
Star's bid was declared the winning bid once its close rival, Sony Pictures Network India, listed INR 6118.59 cr as its final bid in the first ever e-auction in sport, which spanned three days. Star's bid was an increase of 59% from the previous cycle of Indian cricket rights, which were sold for INR 3851 crore (USD 750 million at the time) for the period 2012-18, also to Star. The average cost per match for the Indian cricket rights sold on Thursday was about INR 60 cr (USD 9.2 million approx), which is higher than the average cost per IPL game for the 2018-22 period - INR 54.5 cr (USD 8.4 million approx).
Star India gets to telecast 102 men's international matches over the next five-year period, compared to 96 in the previous six-year cycle from 2012 to 2018. The 102 matches will be split across the home seasons as follows: 18 in 2018-19, 26 in 2019-20, 14 in 2020-21, 23 in 2021-22 and 21 in 2022-23. As per the BCCI, Star listed the following figures as the per match value for each of the five seasons: INR 46 cr, 47 cr, 46.5 cr, 77.4 cr and 78.9 cr respectively. The rights will also include men's domestic matches as well as the India women's international matches.
There were three categories of rights up for bidding: the Indian television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and the global consolidated rights (GCR) for which the winning bid was eventually made.
The e-auction, an unprecedented exercise in sport, became a three-horse race after the BCCI pruned the original list of six bidders on Tuesday morning, having conducted feasibility checks on eligibility of the bidders. Star, Sony, and Reliance were the final competitors when the e-auction began at 2pm on Tuesday.
On Thursday, bidders had 30 minutes to contest a bid, unlike on Tuesday and Wednesday when they had an hour. There was a 35.81 % difference between the final bids on the first two days: from INR 4442 crores (USD 680 million approx.) on Tuesday evening to INR 6032.50 crore (USD 925 million approx) by Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the bids rose in smaller increments: INR 6061.05 cr, INR 6085.30 cr, INR 6111.70 cr, INR 6111.70 cr, and finally INR 6138 cr.