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Volume 6 No. 197
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Facebook Joins Scramble For Indian Premier League Digital Rights

Facebook is the "latest social media titan to join the race for the media rights" of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's biggest property, the Indian Premier League, according to Gaurav Laghate of the TIMES OF INDIA. BCCI sources confirmed that Facebook has "picked up the IPL tender and is most likely to bid for the digital rights of the league." A Facebook spokesperson, however, said, "We don't comment on rumors and speculation." Interestingly, Facebook has been "seeing a jump in conversations during IPL year-on-year." During the '16 IPL season, Facebook said that the league "drove the highest level of conversation it has measured for any IPL season" -- 360 million posts, comments and likes. Facebook pages of the IPL and eight teams totaled "over 140 million video views during the season." Also, during the 50-day tournament, the IPL's Facebook page "added over two million new fans touching 18.3 million subscribers" (TIMES OF INDIA, 10/18).

: The Indian BUSINESS STANDARD's Urvi Malvania reported the BCCI can "expect a windfall in media rights" for the next cycle for the IPL starting in '18. A total of 18 companies from around the globe "had picked up tender documents" by Oct. 18, the last day for doing so. The application is a "universal document on which the applicants can choose to bid for digital and/or TV rights for a chosen territory." It can be "safely assumed that Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Jio will be gunning for the digital rights." Star and Sony, too, are "expected to bid for digital rights in addition to TV rights." BCCI President Anurag Thakur said, "With the global trend of showcasing content on multiple platforms becoming increasingly important, TV, Internet and mobile rights are up for grabs together this time. To have as many as 18 prospective bidders in the fray reinstates the faith of market forces in the Indian Premier League." The bids are to be submitted by Oct. 25. Sports marketing agency CAA KWAN COO Indranil das Blah said, "The IPL is by far the biggest sports property in the country and having it will give any digital video player an edge. Facebook, Twitter, Jio and Amazon will look at the IPL to kickstart their digital video service in the country" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 10/18).

DIGITAL BOOM: BLOOMBERG's Saritha Rai reported the world’s "second-most populous nation is on the brink of a digital-streaming boom." India will have 730 million Internet users by '20, "according to a report in August by India’s IT industry body Nasscom and Akamai Technologies." Singapore-based Managing Dir Shabir Momin said, "The hunger for cricket and the real possibility of consuming it live on a personal device makes for a hugely engaging combination, and that’s what the global companies are going for." Meanwhile, Facebook said that it is "experimenting with a variety of sports content, including behind-the-scenes interviews with athletes and live games." Facebook said, "We have seen great results when we’ve streamed games live -- and continue to be interested in testing the viability of this content" (BLOOMBERG, 10/18).