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Sony keeps IPL TV rights; new deal is Rs 82 bn
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MUMBAI: Playing hard ball, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has won in its row over Sony Entertainment Television India.

Though Sony (now known as Multi Screen Media) has managed to keep the IPL rights, it has had to sign up with World Sport Group (WSG) in a fresh deal valued at Rs 82 billion ($1.6 billion). The contract is valid for the next nine years through to 2017.

The earlier ten-year contract, which Sony couldn't protect, was worth $918 million for telecast and $108 million for promotion of the tournament.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had terminated the contract with Sony and got into a fresh deal with WSG Mauritius on 15 March. Sony had moved the Bombay High Court but the injunction got lifted on 23 March, allowing the cricket board to open talks with other broadcasters for the IPL telecast rights.

ESPN and NDTV had shown interest, but were not willing to pay such a steep price for the rights.

IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said, "We are delighted with the new deal inked today with WSG and Multi Screen Media, we have what we believe to be the best deal for the DLF IPL and Indian cricket fans alike. I am certain that MSM will pull out all the stops in ensuring that the best technology is utilised to deliver excellent content that is creative, innovative and enriching for the cricket fans in India and indeed across the globe.”

MSM CEO Man Jit Singh said, "This acquisition of the media broadcast rights for another nine years reaffirms our commitment to the Indian sub-continent and the global cricket fan alike. At MSM and WSG 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."

WSG CEO Venu Nair added, “Our base objective with the IPL franchise was to place Indian Cricket on the global sports calendar. We are happy to partner with Multi Screen Media to bring the DLF Indian Premier League to a global audience."

The IPL will work closely with Cricket South Africa to ensure that all the necessary logistics and technicalities are completed before it kicks-off on 18 April.

The 59 matches will generate 177 hours of live "family entertainment". All matches will be during 4 pm and at 8 pm in the evening to coincide with prime time for television audiences in India.

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