IPL loses sponsor as Big TV pulls out
In a move that might have bigger repercussions, Reliance Communications' DTH company Big TV has decided not to partner with the Indian Premier League.
The reason is that it failed to reach an agreement with the broadcaster Sony (now Multi Screen Media) for on-air sponsorship.
Big TV alleges that Sony offered on-air sponsorship to Airtel Digital TV at much lower rates. As per IPL rules, the company states, Sony should have given Big TV the first right of refusal before entering into a deal with Airtel.
Last year, Big TV won the contract to be the IPL's on-ground DTH partner for four years. The contract was worth $31.1 million.
For on-air sponsorships this time Sony decided not to offer exclusivity. This meant that Big TV could also have taken airtime spots. However, the company has alleged bias in the sponsorship package rate that Sony offered Big TV vis-a-vis what has been given to Airtel.
When contacted Multi Screen Media president network sales, licensing and telephony Rohit Gupta says that this a matter that the IPL should address and resolve. The pullout, he notes, is for on-ground sponsorship and does not affect the broadcaster.