Star asks BCCI to allow political ads during IPL
Star India, the broadcaster of cricket's high-profile Indian Premier League, has asked the Board of Control for Cricket India for permission to run political advertisements during its coverage of this year's competition.
The BCCI currently has a specific clause in its media rights agreement with Star making it clear that political or religious commercials during live or recorded coverage are forbidden.
The fact that this year's IPL, which runs from 23 March to 19 May, coincides with general elections in India, will have been a factor behind the Star request as will the potentially large revenues from such advertising during the multiple commercial breaks in IPL games.
The election period runs from 11 April to 19 May.
Sources have indicated that while there have been two rounds of talks over the issue, a resolution has yet to be reached. There has been no official BCCI response to the Star request.
Star became the Indian home of the IPL last year under a five-year deal worth $2.6 billion, replacing rival Sony Pictures Networks, which had held the rights since the initial competition in 2008.
Meanwhile, Star is reported to have injected around $153 million of new funding into Hotstar, its on-demand video platform, which will provide simultaneous live streaming of this year's IPL.
The move comes as Hotstar aims to increase the content and viewing options available on the platform,
Elsewhere, live sports updates provider Machaao has received investment from India’s largest media group.
Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), otherwise known as Times Group, has chosen to invest in Machaao whose core product is a chatbot that can deliver personalised information, news and scores to sports fans. This chatbot service is run through Facebook Messenger.
There are also plans for the company to launch a gaming platform this summer in which fans would be able to compete against each other.