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IPL: Sony Max to air IPL 2, fresh deal with BCCI
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The legal spat between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Multi Screen Media India (formerly Sony Entertainment Television) over the issue of broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been resolved. But, there is a but in the story, as this development may not restore broadcast rights automatically to MSM India.

Now that the MSM-BCCI deal is over, sports management company World Sports Group (WSG) that holds the broadcast rights for IPL globally, has begun fresh talks with a consortium comprising NDTV, Malaysian broadcaster Astro and PE fund Providence Capital, and ESPN Star Sports. Simultaneously, it is again talking to MSM for a fresh deal for IPL itself.

However, sources say that MSM India is still clearly the frontrunner. The value of the new broadcast deal has increased 40 per cent over the old deal. The size of the new nine-year deal is estimated at $1.2 billion. This means, WSG would pay BCCI this amount, and later sell it at a premium to a broadcaster.

In 2008, BCCI had sold the rights to WSG for $ 918 million and an extra $ 108 million for promotions. These included rights for TV, radio, Internet and mobile. WSG had in turn sold the rights for India to MSM India for five years for an undisclosed amount.

MSM India had dragged BCCI to Bombay High Court last weekend, seeking injunction over the cricket board attempting to negotiate a fresh contract for IPL's broadcast rights. BCCI had confirmed in court that it had terminated its contract with MSM and signed a fresh deal with WSG-Mauritius.

The Bombay High Court had then asked BCCI not to sign any new contract with any other broadcaster until the case was resolved. No one in the BCCI or MSM India was willing to come on record about the impending settlement, but sources close to officials in both sides revealed that the negotiations were taken place in New Delhi.

The row between IPL and MSM India started a month back when Big TV, the DTH arm of Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group walked out of a Rs 137 crore sponsorship deal signed with IPL, after MSM India signed on rival Airtel Digital TV, the satellite TV arm of Bharti Airtel Ltd as an on-air sponsor.

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