The official broadcaster of Indian Premier League, Star India Pvt Ltd has conveyed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India of a specific clause in their existing Media Rights Agreement pertaining to slotting of religious and political advertisements during live matches of the tournament and also in the highlights package.
The Media Rights agreement between BCCI and star has been signed for a period of 5 years between 2018 and 2022. Clause 8.6 (B) states that “slotting of any political and/or religious advertisements during transmission is not permitted. As per reports in the Times of India, Star has made their priorities clear to the BCCI on Thursday. The move from the part of the broadcaster is a clear indication that the tremendous revenue can be expected after showing religious or political advertisement during the tournament especially given the fact that it is election time now.
Star India urges BCCI to show political advertisements during IPL
There is another question which BCCI needs to answer. Because, if it does, then it is clear that there is no respect for the written word (read: MRA),” say sources in the know of the matter. There had been talk that cricket and politics could have gone in hand for a long time. “But never before has politicisation set in the way it is happening now. First, it was BCCI’s decision to write to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban Pakistan from the World Cup, which was essentially a meaningless communication and the move only came in for criticism. And now this,” said industry sources.
“Star and BCCI have had two rounds of talks over this. As of now, nothing has come out of it,” say sources. TOI tried reaching the broadcaster to understand the need for the letter but officials at Star remained unreachable. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri too was unavailable for comment.
“That’s serious money. So, it’s pretty understandable that Star would want to make the most of the advertising revenue. But the call is for the BCCI to make here,” say industry sources. The IPL will begin on March 23 and conclude on May 12. As of now, BCCI has released the first 15-day schedule and was waiting for the election commission to release dates for the Lok Sabha polls before coming out with the rest of the tournament schedule. “Now, the Lok Sabha poll dates are out (from April 11 to May 23) and the entire general elections are clashing with IPL dates. So, we all know what are going to be the two major talking points,” added important sources.