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Discovery and YuppTV enter the mix for IPL rights

International media and entertainment company Discovery Communications and OTT operator YuppTV have entered into contention for the forthcoming rights sales process for Twenty20 cricket competition the Indian Premier League, according to multiple reports.

The TelevisionPost website said both companies have acquired bid documents in the tender process that launched last month. Discovery could be seeking television rights for its DSport pay-television channel, which launched in India in February, while YuppTV is likely to target digital rights.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been forced to abort the tender process on a number of occasions but released a fresh invitation to tender on July 21. Bid submissions are due on August 28, with the results of the tender expected to be announced on the same day.

The rights tender is set to cover five editions of the IPL, from 2018 to 2022. The BCCI launched an initial tender in September last year for broadcast rights covering 10 years, from 2018 to 2027, and digital rights covering five years, from 2018 to 2022.

However, the sales process stalled due to a legal challenge by the Supreme Court into the governance of the BCCI. The case ultimately led to Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke being removed as president and secretary of the BCCI, respectively, after failing to implement various reforms.

Companies that had purchased bidding documents for last year’s tender, which was scheduled to conclude on October 25, have been provided the new tender documents without any additional charge.

The 18 companies that picked up the initial ITT were: Star India, Amazon, Followon Interactive Media, Taj TV, Sony Pictures Networks, Times Internet, SuperSport International, Reliance Jio Digital Services, Gulf DTH, GroupM Media India, beIN, Econet Media, Sky UK, ESPN Digital Media (India), BTG Legal Services, BT, Twitter and Facebook.

Sony Pictures Network India currently holds television rights to the IPL, while pay-television broadcaster Star India has digital and overseas rights to the IPL, aside from in the UK and the US. Both deals expired at the end of the 2017 season, which concluded on May 21.