England in India 2012-13 October 25, 2012

BCCI holds firm on broadcaster fees


The BCCI remains firm in its demand of what it calls "realistic costs" of providing space and access for independent TV and radio commentary teams from Sky TV and BBC's Test Match Special to cover England's tour of India which is due to begin in early November.

Officials have refused to make a statement on the matter but ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCCI has not signed any rights deals or contract with either Sky or TMS. The dispute of the amounts mentioned - £500,000 (US$806,000) for Sky and £50,000 (US$80,000) for BBC - has arisen because, for the first time, the BCCI holds production rights for the coverage of Indian cricket.

Sky and BBC have signed sub-licencee agreements with Star TV which is the owner of "global media rights" of Indian cricket which will give them access to the world feed. As Star is not in charge of production, the arrangements to set up independent commentary teams and provide access to commentary boxes and independent studios must be made between sub-licencees and the production house, in this case the BCCI.

A BCCI official, preferring anonymity, said: "It is not as if they have only asked for a commentary box. They have demanded a full control room, just like the one our host broadcaster has at every venue. If you have to create an additional space of 2000 sq ft, fully air-conditioned, it will bear a lot of cost. And neither the BCCI nor any of our affiliated units who would be hosting the match would bear the additional cost."

In the past, the TV channel that owned the rights, usually also controlled production. During tours by visiting teams, the cost of providing access and facilities to commentary teams from overseas was worked out between the production house and the foreign media channels. The "access fees" were worked out through mutual relationships between the broadcast and production companies. Costs have often been waived and even if the extent of the support required was substantial, the fees were arrived at following mutually-agreeable discussions.

With the BCCI owning production rights to all cricket out of India, the visiting broadcast companies must independently negotiate costs over and above what it has paid the rights owners for sub-licences. Just after Star won its global media rights, a joint ESPNStar production team had made a pitch for production rights of cricket in India but had not won the contract.

BCCI is not the only cricket board that owns production rights: Cricket South Africa's global rights are sold to SuperSport but it keeps production under its own control. Under CSA's terms, the Board has the final say on its commentary team for its home audience while IMG takes care of some of camera crew and graphics and also sorts out the agreements between independent visiting commentary teams.

The fees being asked for by the BCCI from Sky and BBC for production costs have led the visiting broadcasters to suggest they may decide to provide independent commentary from their UK headquarters off a television set rather than live action at the venue.

With additional inputs from Firdose Moonda

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    @Sharyar Hussain Is that this simple,sir?The tv rights holder of Indian Cricket Star TV and UK'S Sky TV are both controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.So they will be having some mutual agreement than a wrangle of this sort.But Sky's coverage along with Channel Nine is the best in the cricketing world.So I will be disappointed on that front.

  • Matthew on October 27, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    If all this is about facilities including a studio why not send the commentators and have analysis back in London? Like at the WT20

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    So move the contest to England, it's a balmy 2 degrees Celsius - perfect!

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    problem is sorted if sky charge the indian broadcasters £500k in current day's money, next time India tour England

  • Srinivas on October 27, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    People mouthing-off BCCI don't even seem to realise that Sky wants not just the commentary team but also a fully featured host broadcaster style control rooms and studios and all such add-ons. So who should pay for that? Not BCCI for sure. BCCI, Sky, BBC or Star - none of them are running charities. Are they? Get a life peoples. Will ya?

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Quick numbers: 500, 000 pounds = 4.3 crore INR [@ INR 86 per pound] No. of tour days ~= 43 i.e. INR 10 lakhs per day or 11.6 k pounds per day Can somebody in the business enlighten us and tell is if this is realistic or inflated?

  • Bhaskar on October 26, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Is US$ 80,000 a big amount for BBC that they have to stay in UK studio? The audience can listen to same commentary in cricbuzz app of iphone, android & Blackberry for free too.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    The amounts asked for by BCCI are just like chicken-feed for the British broadcasters. They just throw up their hands in mock-horror, stare at you unblinkingly for a couple of minutes to see if you succumb. Good acting by BBC and SKY!

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    @Raghav - It's not just as simple as that... BCCI owns the productions rights - it could have easily sold it to ESPNStar for a big amount of money who would then charge Sky or come to a mutual agreement with then but it didn't so now Sky obviously have to pay BCCI instead.

  • david on October 26, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Rajesh_india_1990 it has nothing to do with the ECB so get your facts right. the argument at the moment is between SKY and the BBC. then in the next series the argument will be between the bidders of that counties broadcasters. the ECB dont get any money from BCCI for television rights. if this had been thrashed out months ago then maybe it would have been accepted, but in less than a month the test begins. it shows a total disrespect to 2 great organizations, i wonder what cricinfo's thoughts would have been if it was done to them, i guess i know what the headlines would be.

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