Participating in the latest edition of Round Table - the fortnightly debate on Cricinfo Talk which comes out on Tuesday - along with Sanjay Manjrekar and Tony Greig, Modi touched on other issues too, including how India's money power has helped the Australian and West Indies cricket boards. But his comments on the ICC's marketing deal are topical as the issue will be discussed in Mumbai later this week.
Last time around, the ICC sold the rights to the Global Cricket Corporation for $532 million; GCC re-sold the rights, mainly to its group companies, Modi pointed out. The highest amount ($208 million) was paid by Sony Television, which wasn't part of the group; the balance, he said, was made up by selling rights at low rates to its group companies. "If you look at the underlying revenues of all other broadcasters it would've been in the excess of a billion dollars. So the ICC actually suffered when they gave it out to one company for an eight-year-period."
As an example he referred to Sky TV which, he said, paid only $30 million for an eight-year deal but made $30 million in the first series. "If you actually looked at the Sky business plan, which I happened to, they were actually going to bid $90 million on their own. But now they didn't have to bid $90 million because the parent company of theirs had bought the rights and they got a share of it."
Another case where the ICC had lost out, Modi said, was the deal surrounding the Champions Trophy. The GCC deal, he explained, was based on a 12-match Champions Trophy format, which is now expanded to 21 games. "Did the ICC get a higher revenue? No."
The BCCI's current stand-off with the ICC revolves around the Members Partnership Agreement, which specifies image and other rights of players and boards, and demands unconditional consent from full members for taking part in ICC events from 2008-2015. The BCCI's contention is that the MPA would affect its interests, and those of the players, for a period of six to nine months; it has sought changes but the ICC has not yet acceded.
The BCCI's stand, Modi said, is that it isn't something being asked for "only in favour of India. What we want is also applicable to other members - a lot of the members haven't seen the problems or haven't hosted a big event to understand the problems."
The solution, he continued, is in the BCCI's bid for the ICC rights. This would not only put more money into world cricket - "We are ready to pay top dollar for it ... our money is as good as anybody else's" - but also allow for an MPA that would be acceptable to all members.
"The ICC is saying that India is demanding things in the MPA which will undermine the ICC's revenue; India is saying 'Sorry. Listen to me. On the one hand we are telling you this is our problem with the MPA because it is better for the game.' And secondly we are ready to bid with those conditions and we will offload it to a broadcaster who'll have no problem dealing with us."