India news March 31, 2012

BCCI gets four bids for cricket rights in India


The BCCI has received at least four bids for the broadcast, internet and mobile rights to cricket in India for the period July 2012 - March 2018, ESPNcricinfo has learned. The companies believed to have submitted bids are ESPN Star Sports* (ESS), Multi-Screen Media (Sony), Bennett Coleman, which owns the Times of India, and a consortium involving TV-18 and Reliance.

The bids are being closely watched as they will provide an indication of how valuable the market considers the rights given the board's cancellation of its previous contract with Nimbus Communications over payment problems coupled with the recent poor performances of the Indian team. The bidding period closed on March 26 and the bids are due to be opened on April 2.

Multi-Screen Media has plans to launch a sports channel (likely to be called Six according to Business Standard) and the rights to Indian cricket would give the company a second marquee property after the IPL. MSM also has the rights to FA Cup football and the NBA. ESS, the market leader among sports broadcasters in India, owns the rights to ICC events, as well as the domestic rights for Australia and England. Landing the India rights would give them a virtual stranglehold on premium cricket properties.

According to market sources, Bennett Coleman are likely to bid for the internet and mobile rights rather than the television rights. The company currently owns the internet rights for the IPL in conjunction with Nimbus.

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$60 million) with the court as security for the amount the BCCI claims it is owed by the company. Nimbus has also made a counter-claim of Rs 600 crores (approx US$118 million) from the board.

The BCCI's marketing committee set the price for category A games at Rs 31.25 crores per match (approx $6.1 million) plus Rs 1 crore (approx $0.2 million) while category B games were set at Rs 34 crores (approx $6.67 million) plus Rs 1 crore. However, 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 latter is the base price for the digital rights. The contract with Nimbus had a base price of Rs 31.25 crores (approx $6.1 million) per game for each of the three formats purely for the broadcast rights.

The board did attempt to sell the internet rights separately last year, but the tender found no takers at the initial base price of Rs 3 crores (approx $0.6 million) or its subsequently reduced price of Rs 2 crores (approx $0.4 million).

*ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • suko99 on April 2, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    @ Ravi Kiran C R - Are u sure that L. sivaramakrishnan is the most intolerable commentator ? Don't U think that Arun Lal and Ravi Shastri are worse ? Just a thought...........

  • dummy4fb on April 2, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Cool...!!! ESS deserves it...!!!

  • dummy4fb on April 2, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    i also want india cricket live on espnstar cricket ...

  • venkatesh018 on April 2, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    ESS is far from professional, they are the best of a very worst lot. Any sports channel which has Shastri, Gavaskar,Wasim Akram and Alan Wilkins(strictly a studio anchor) as its core commentary group can never be called one. If ESS has guts and is really committed to providing balanced and high quality coverage they should hire people like Holding, Atherton, Hussain, Bishop,Cozier and keep Sanjay Manjrekar and Harsha Bhogle in their fold.

  • Surajrises on April 2, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    I am extremely surprised that TEN Sports is not a part of this bid. Well Multi Screen Media I am sure is ready to spend Hell A Lot of Money for this as they are planning to launch their own channel '6'. Well ESPN did a great job handling World Cup and I wont be surprised if they win the broadcasting rights.

  • dummy4fb on April 2, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    I think this will have to go to ESS and no other is come close to have telecast like this ppl and a talented team of prof do. I will pray o god that they will win this contract and lets all the ppl enjoy the coverage.................

  • TerryRoberts on April 2, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Hope ESS gets the rights.. The reasons being...

    1. Their presentation of the game. 2. The professionalism they show. 3. They have the best commentators in the business. 4. They have the decency to give more importance to the game rather than ads! 5. All said and done ESPN-Star are the best sport channels. not only for Cric, but also for other sports!

    All the best ESS! Hope BCCI uses a little more common sense!

  • Romenevans on April 2, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    Also please sack L Shivramakrishna because he is an absolute torture to listen to his commentary. Ravi Shahsti always seems to be having a hangover of last night party after match, so he should be avoided too. And hey please get rid of Ganguly too, im so sick of listening his commentary. Boring guy!

  • howizzat on April 2, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    One can easily understand from the article, that SONY is going to get the telecast rights and for that they may bid high too. BCCI have good experiences in dealing with MSM(Sony). Conservative approach of ESPN may not help them in getting telecast rights though they may win internet rights. So I bet on MSM. Any takers?

  • vaslin on April 1, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Neo sports is the worst cricket channel ever. Thankgod it is gone. They are interested in making money, money, not cricket. They were the first to introduce ad in middle of the over.& so many other gimmicks. Espn Star sports is much better. After Neo sports entry, espn star also introduced more ad but better than Neosports. There may be a lesson there.

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