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Channel war on IPL turf.

STAR TV inks ` 60cr deal as associate sponsor despite Sony being broadcaster

CELEBRITIES from famous TV shows will walk out to give away prizes after Indian Premier League ( IPL) matches, but it may well lead to a conflict between two rival networks.

Star TV has signed as an associate sponsor, worth ` 60crore, even though the official broadcaster for the multi- city tournament happens to be its rival Sony Entertainment Television.

It is not for the first time that a rivalry between the two television networks has spilled over to the cricket field. Last year, Sony and Star TV were two of the four bidders vying for the broadcast, internet and mobile rights for cricket in India.

However, it was Star TV which inked a six- year deal with the BCCI that allows it to telecast 96 international matches to be played in India till March 2018.

A bid worth ` 3,851 crore by Star TV -- ` 150 crore more than Sony's -- was enough to seal the contract with the money- minting BCCI. The move may well be another marketing ploy to increase the popularity of the already successful IPL with popular faces of television shows joining Bollywood actors and cricket stars from around the world.

The sixth edition of the IPL is yet to start and the league has already seen much drama with franchises being asked to keep Sri Lankan players and officials out of the matches to be played in Chennai.

The latest deal could well lead to another controversy, involving two of the television broadcasters who have been associated with the BCCI for quite a long time.

There will be prizes to be won for every special achievement by a player and leading characters of famous shows on Star Plus will be present in every match to give away the awards. The biggest six, highest scorer, highest number of boundaries, brilliant catch etc will all fetch big- ticket prizes.

Star TV chief executive Uday Shankar was not available for comment, while Rohit Gupta, president of Multi- Screen Media, which owns the Sony Entertainment Network, was out of the country. Gupta, however, is aware of the deal between BCCI and Star TV. " Yes, I have heard about it but currently I am abroad," said Gupta.

IPL Governing Council chairman Rajeev Shukla confirmed that the deal is on and there will be a galaxy of television stars at the presentation ceremonies. " Yes the deal is on. But there are still a few things that need to be finalised," Shukla told M AIL T ODAY . The IPL has always attracted popular faces of the silver screen and now, actors from TV shows on Star Plus will also join the bandwagon.

A hat- trick could well see a bowler being presented an award by Gautam Rode and Jennifer Winget, the lead actors in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's newly- launched serial Saraswatichandra . Likewise, actors of popular shows like Diya Aur Bti, Sth Nibhana Sathiya and Pyr Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyara Pyara will be there to share the spotlight with the cricketers.

Suraj Rathi and Sandhya Rathi, characters played by Anas Rasheed and Deepika Singh in Diya Aur Bati , would be there to cheer their favourite players and will also get a chance to present the awards.

Deal may lead to a conflict between the two rival TV networks

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 27, 2013
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