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Neo Cricket likely to air IPL only in the US


Dream Pro
22 Mar 2011
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Nimbus, which got the global rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) till 2014 through a consortium bid led by Times Internet Ltd, will probably only air it in the US on Neo Cricket.

Industry sources indicate that for other markets it will seek broadcast partnerships. The rights recently awarded by the BCCI are for worldwide television apart from India, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Caribbean.

Interestingly, Multi Screen Media (MSM), which holds the TV telecast rights of the IPL for the subcontinent, had put up a rival bid as part of a consortium that had Google. Sources say that the bid was around Rs 2.5 billion.

Google's online video site YouTube had bagged the two-year rights last year for the IPL which was nullified when the BCCI cancelled its deal with World Sport Group and Global Cricket Ventures.

While declining to talk about the strategy, Nimbus Sport COO Yannick Colaco says that the aim will be to use its channel Neo Cricket as well as to form partnerships with broadcasters globally who can spread the reach of the IPL.

"It will be a mix of both. We are in talks with companies for partnership in over 60 countries for which Nimbus has bagged the TV broadcast rights for IPL. Through our deal with the BCCI, we aim to make the IPL a global brand. We are looking for broadcasters who have a commitment towards this property. We are evaluating each territory. We will close deals in the coming days."

While the US, UK and Canada are key markets, Colaco also points out to other markets like New Zealand and Malaysia which have potential. "We have done a study in terms of the NRI population in different countries and the enthusiasm there is about the IPL," he says.

Colaco, however, declined to comment on how much Nimbus paid for the television rights. The consortium bid led by Times Internet Ltd. was worth Rs. 2.62 billion.

Interestingly a sports marketing expert notes that mainline sports channels in the UK are unlikely to be interested in the IPL. That is because soccer in terms of the EPL and Uefa Champions League will reach its climax during the time the IPL is played. It could be that the rights are sub-licensed to a channel targetting NRIs like Sony. It will be interesting to see how Nimbus approaches markets like Germany and France.
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