Sydney, Jan.29 : Media baron Rupert Murdoch's son, Lachlan, is a co-owner of one of the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) teams that will take part in a Twenty20 competition between April and June this year.
Lachlan Murdoch emerged as one of the co-owners of an IPL team on Sunday.
Sources, however, said that Lachlan's investment in Indian cricket was unrelated to his business deal with James Packer.
Murdoch's private investment company Illyria said its decision to buy into the Jaipur-based Twenty20 team was unrelated to the bid for CMH.
News.com.au quoted Illyria spokesman John Connolly as saying that Murdoch owned only "a very small percentage" of the team, which Illyria bought with the UK-based Emerging Media for 67 million American dollars.
Murdoch and Packer are bidding for Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH) company, which owns 50 per cent of Premier Media (owner of the pay-TV sports channel Fox Sports), 25 per cent of pay-TV group Foxtel and 25 per cent of PBL Media, which in turn owns Network Nine.
Lachlan Murdoch resigned from his executive roles at News Corporation, owner and publisher of NEWS.com.au, in 2005 to pursue his own interests.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India recently announced it had sold the broadcast rights of the IPL for one billion US dollars over 10 years, making it the biggest telecast deal in Indian cricket.
The buyer was a joint venture between Sony Entertainment Television and the Asian-based sports marketing group World Sports Group. They are expected to recoup the outlay by selling the broadcast rights to cricket-loving television markets.
A Fox Sports spokesperson yesterday said they had yet to have any discussions regarding the IPL - which is scheduled to start on April 18 - and a Nine Network representative said they were unlikely to be interested in the rights.
Mitchell Communications Group chairman Harold Mitchell - whose company sells signage at cricket grounds around Australia - said sports and television were always a "heady mix". These (IPL teams) "have been sought-after properties with big dollars attached", he said. "The shorter game with quick results is perfectly suited to modern-day entertainment."
But he believed the IPL broadcast rights were more suited to pay-TV in Australia. "It will be the pay people who will put it on and will progressively pay more and more for it."
The IPL investment is Illyria's second in India, the company having bought 50 per cent of the Percept Talent Management business in May last year.
Story first published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 11:36 [IST]
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