BCCI 'weighing up e-auction' for sale of India TV rights
The Board of Control for Cricket in India could consider adopting an online auction process for the sale of broadcast rights to the national team’s home matches despite not having done so for the lucrative Indian Premier League.
The rights to international and domestic cricket (excluding the IPL) in India from next year onwards are set to go out for tender shortly and the Committee of Administrators presently overseeing the BCCI was recently updated on discussions between the board’s chief executive Rahul Johri and an e-auction agency drawing up a potential model, according to the Times of India.
It is reported that the negotiations were also flagged up at a meeting of the CoA in September.
At the start of that month, the BCCI generated Rs163.5 billion ($2.55 billion) from the sale of global media rights to the IPL for five years from 2018 onwards to Star India, the domestic broadcasting giant presently owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and an established home of cricket in India.
The governing body had received approval from India’s Supreme Court to sell the rights via a traditional sealed bids process despite a petition from Subramanian Swamy, a member of the Indian parliament, requesting an e-auction on the basis that it would ensure greater transparency.
At the time there were concerns at the BCCI that selling the rights electronically could devalue the IPL property although in the event Star’s global bid was only 3 per cent higher than the sum total of all the highest bids for the seven individual packages of Rs158.1 billion, and there is a school of thought that the BCCI could have raised even more money through a competitive online auction.
The BCCI could also be influenced by the fine of Rs522.4 million imposed on it by the Competition Commission of India last month for including a non-compete clause, relating to other Twenty20 leagues, in the IPL rights tender.
TOI quotes sources saying: “The BCCI had submitted back then that going forward it would try and identify – through the IPL auction process – if an e-auction could work. It is working on the same submission.
“The Indian cricket media rights are going to be sold collectively, unlike the IPL media rights that made for a larger bouquet. But nothing’s finalised yet. The idea is still being deliberated.”
Star presently shows India home test matches, one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals in a six-year deal worth Rs38.5 billion that expires in March 2018, and is strongly expected to retain the rights especially after last week’s announcement that it will be part of the proposed acquisition of Fox assets by Walt Disney, the US media and entertainment giant, in a deal worth $66.1 billion.
Star also holds global rights to International Cricket Council events, including the Cricket World Cup, until 2023.
Disney-owned ESPN returned to the Indian market in 2015 in a collaboration with Multi Screen Media, the Indian broadcaster now known as Sony Pictures Networks, which until this year held the domestic rights to the IPL in India.
ESPN had been absent from the Indian television market since 2012 when Murdoch's News Corporation concluded a deal to acquire the 50-per-cent stake in ESPN Star Sports, the joint-venture pan-Asian sports broadcaster, that it did not already hold, and the Indian channels were subsequently rebranded under the Star Sports umbrella.