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‘It was like a movie that wasn’t coming to an end’



In 2012 Star India began its journey as a sports broadcaster after it won the Indian cricket rights. Six years later, Star has retained those rights after winning a pitched battle with archrival Sony and paying close to a billion dollars to do so.

After the three-day e-auction ended on Thursday afternoon, Uday Shankar, the chairman of Star India, called it an “exhausting” exercise. But he admitted it was a learning experience. “Like every great thing, BCCI rights come expensive,” he said, but added that it was worth it.

After winning the IPL rights you said economics does not really drive Test cricket. Coming into this auction did you really expect to overtake the IPL rights by such a big figure?

Yes. That is why we were prepared to put in that number. IPL is great and that is why it gets the viewership and it gets the business that it does. But this, as I have said, is national cricket: when the Indian team is playing on behalf of the country, the passion and the intensity it generates is unparalleled. And that is the power of this sport. You can say that the IPL number has become a benchmark, but if you see the IPL numbers (per-match value) in the first cycle moved up by four times. Actually the BCCI rights have gone up in a reasonable manner because the last price (per-match value) was INR 43 crores.

The last two years (2022 and 23) you have paid a high amount in terms of per-match value (INR 77.4 cr and INR 78.8 cr). During this period there are 44 international matches out of which 35 are ODIs and T20Is. Was that a factor behind the high price?

We believe that as we go further the sports market will get healthier and healthier in this country. There will be more and more people watching sports as we have seen in the last six to seven years that we’ve been active in the sports business. Our focus has been relentlessly on expanding the population of sports fans and cricket fans in India. And we have been successful in that. If you see the last five years’ average – we have grown the viewership of all forms of cricket. If the quality of cricket, and, if the quality of the television and digital experience continue to go up every year, more and more people will watch. And that is what makes it worthwhile to be able to pay more.

Out of the 102 matches, 22 are Tests. Is your bid white-ball-cricket driven or combined? Can you explain the reasoning behind the jump from paying INR 43 cr per match to close to INR 60 cr?

Test matches have a value. They are niche category. They have certain loyal followers. They are not as big in the mass following as the T20 and ODI formats, but overall it is about quality of cricket. Also when you are in a tender process and if all three events (formats) have been bundled together you have to bid on all of them. The prices that you see reflect average value of all three forms put together across five years. So as a bundle we believe that it makes sense.

More than Test matches, the real issue is the quality of cricket, the quality of the competition. If two great teams are playing, if India and Australia and those kind of teams are playing, if the interests levels are high because of the nature of the engagement that is happening, all forms of cricket in this country get very exciting. The problem comes when the games become listless. And that is what we all need to be focusing on.

How much did the digital rights factor in your price?

We were focusing more on the consolidated rights. All the bids we have participated in we believed that we should look at the rights as a combo package specially because we have both digital and television offering. So we were not making those distinctions in our calculations.

“If two great teams are playing, if India and Australia and those kind of teams are playing, if the interests levels are high because of the nature of the engagement that is happening, all forms of cricket in this country get very exciting. The problem comes when the games become listless.”

Uday Shankar, chairman, Star India

How was the experience of taking part in the e-auction?

The experience was like a movie that was great, but it wasn’t just coming to an end. It went on and on. I’m sure everybody including the BCCI who, purely from their business point of view, it was great the longer it ran because every minute was bringing more cash. But I am sure by the end of it they also must be exhausted because for it to go on for three days is quite something. I don’t think there is another tender of any sport rights we are aware of that has gone on for so long. You had to be technically savvy. It took time to understand but it was a very scientific and transparent process. You knew at any time what the leading bid in every category was [even though] you did not know the name of the bidder. You were getting enough time to respond to that.

It also nailed a miscommunication that has been going on that e-tender or sealed tender, one or the other, is fundamentally superior or inferior. Finally it is about whoever is willing to pay the highest price. We participate and we experience sports rights all over the world, the BCCI runs probably the most transparent and brutally disciplined process sometimes to the disadvantage of the bidders. And they maintain the same discipline and that is why they end up making so much money.

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Recent Match Report – Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians 51st Match 2020



Mumbai Indians 111 for 1 (Kishan 72*, Nortje 1-25) beat Delhi Capitals 110 for 9 (Iyer 25, Pant 21, Bumrah 3-17, Boult 3-21) by nine wickets

The Mumbai Indians finally broke their Dubai hoodoo, and how!

First, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult combined to take 6 for 38 in eight overs to strangle Delhi Capitals to 110 for 9. Then Ishan Kishan struck an unbeaten 72 off 47, taking the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje apart on his way, to take his side home with nine wickets and 36 balls to spare.

The win has ensured the Mumbai a top-two finish in the league stage. On the other hand, the Capitals have now lost four games on the trot, and while they can still finish second on the points table, their net run rate, for now, has slipped below the Kings XI Punjab’s.

Boult removes Dhawan, Shaw early

How fickle form can be in T20s was evident once again on Saturday. After scoring back-to-back hundreds, Shikhar Dhawan has now two ducks in the two outings since then. He was out for a golden duck against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and here he lasted two balls as he failed to keep down a cut against Boult and Suryakumar Yadav took a low catch at point. It was referred to third umpire and there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field soft signal of out.

Shaw, who replaced Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI, didn’t last long either as Boult cut short his stay in his next over. Backing away to a short-of-length delivery, Shaw went for a pull only to slice it high to the wicketkeeper’s left.

From the other end, spinners Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav hit the hard lengths to keep things quiet as the Capitals finished the powerplay on 22 for 2, the second-lowest powerplay total in IPL 2020.

Chahar, Bumrah dent Capitals’ recovery

Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant tried to stage a recovery but the runs were not coming freely. After the third over, the Capitals hit only one boundary – a six by Iyer off Jayant – till the tenth. They limped to 49 for 2 at the halfway mark of their innings, but the silver lining was the eight wickets in hand.

Rahul Chahar and Bumrah though shattered any hopes of a revival. Chahar lured forward Iyer with a flighted legbreak before beating him with the turn; Quinton de Kock effected the stumping with Iyer’s foot centimetres off the ground.

After that Bumrah breathed fire. He sent back both Marcus Stoinis – a thick outside edge to de Kock – and Pant – lbw from around the wicket – in the same over to leave the Capitals 62 for 5 in the 12th over. Harshal Patel though was unlucky to become Bumrah’s third victim. He was deemed lbw by umpire Paul Reiffel but replays showed the ball hit him high on the back thigh and would have gone over the stumps. The wicket though took Bumrah’s tally for the season to 23, helping him draw level with the purple-cap holder Rabada.

Nathan Coulter-Nile then dismissed Shimron Hetmyer to reduce the Capitals to 78 for 7 before R Ashwin and Rabada dragged the score past 100.

More to follow

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Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders in desperate shootout for playoff spot



Both teams will still need other results to go their way, but they themselves need to win first

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Recent Match Report – Western Australia vs Tasmania 5th Match 2020



Tasmania 5 for 273 (McDermott 83*, Wade 83) trail Western Australia 302 by 29 runs

Captain Matthew Wade and Ben McDermott produced a classy century stand to help Tasmania close in a first innings lead against Western Australia.

Wade made 83 in his first match of the season after being rested from the opening two Shield rounds to spend time with his family following Australia’s tour of England, and with the heavy forthcoming international schedule in mind.

McDermott finished the day 83 not out to continue his excellent early season form. It was his third half-century in four innings this season and he will be hoping to reach his second first-class century on the third day.

Tasmania battled through the first hour without loss until Cameron Green‘s first spell of bowling in a match in 12 months made a mark. Charlie Wakim edged Green’s first ball through a vacant third slip then the extra pace and bounce of Green removed Jordan Silk, who was left inspecting the blow on his right thumb as he trudged off after ballooning a simple catch to gully.

Green bowled just eight overs for the day in two spells of three and five overs, as was forecast pre-game, but was impressive nonetheless taking 1 for 15.

Wakim also fell to a short ball from Aaron Hardie five overs later leaving Tasmania vulnerable. But Wade walked out at No. 3 and looked every bit the Test incumbent that he is. His footwork was sharp and his intent to rotate the strike was a feature.

After combining with McDermott for a 135-run stand Wade had a brain-fade charging Ashton Agar only to miss a wild swipe and be stumped by a wide margin.

Hardie and Lance Morris delivered late blows for WA removing Jake Doran and Tim Paine but McDermott was resolute, guiding Tasmania to stumps just 30 runs shy of the first innings lead.

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