India news March 7, 2012

BCCI to issue new tender for broadcast, internet and mobile rights

The BCCI will issue a fresh tender for the broadcast, internet and mobile rights to cricket in India on March 10 and appears to have marginally raised its base price per game for its broadcast rights, despite having to cancel its previous contract with Nimbus Communications over payment problems.

According to PTI, the board's marketing committee, which met in Mumbai today, has set the price for category A games at Rs 31.25 crores per match (approx $6.4 million) plus Rs 1 crore (approx $198,000) while category B games were set at Rs 3.40 crores (approx $6.75 million) plus Rs 1 crore. Committee chairman Farooq Abdullah did not specify which of the game's three formats fall under each category, nor why a separate rate of Rs 1 crore was mentioned, though one possibility is that the Rs 1 crore is the base price for the board's digital rights. The contract with Nimbus had a base price of Rs 31.25 crores (approx $6.20 million) per game for each of the three formats purely for the broadcast rights.

The BCCI tried to sell its digital rights as a separate property last year, but found no takers at the original base price of Rs 3 crores(approx $595,000) per game. They then reduced the base price to Rs 2 crores (approx $397,000) but still did not receive a single bid for the rights to stream India's home games live on the internet.

The rights in the new tender cover television, internet and mobile for global territories for the period July 2012 - March 2018, the board said in a statement. The tender will be made available until March 26 and the marketing committee will meet in Chennai to open the bids on April 2.

The board was forced to issue a new tender after it terminated its contract with Nimbus in December 2011, claiming the latter had defaulted on its payments. The matter has subsequently been referred for arbitration, with the Bombay High Court ruling that Nimbus must deposit Rs 305 crores (approx. US$61 million) with the court as security for the amount the BCCI claims it is owed by the company.

The base price set by the board was much anticipated as the previous price of Rs 31.25 crores per match, agreed to by Nimbus, was widely thought to be unsustainable, especially in the light of India's recent poor performances in both England and Australia. The team has lost eight away Tests on the trot, did not win any of the five one-dayers in England and failed to make the final of the triangular-series in Australia. However, these rights are for matches in India, where the team has performed much better, winning the World Cup in April, beating England in the ODIs and West Indies in Tests and ODIs in 2011.

"Everything was discussed," Abdullah told reporters after the meeting. "How the shape of the next tender should be. The contract with Nimbus has ended. The difficulties and deficiencies in the previous tender were looked into and rectified, and care has been taken those are not repeated in the new tender. It will be a global tender for six years.

"The new tender will give a chance for new people to come in. They can bid either for the whole thing (broadcast, internet and mobile rights) or in parts. It will enable people to come in larger numbers. We expect to generate more interest."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo