New Delhi: Promising a "historic" new beginning, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday announced an open tender process for allocating the cash-rich Indian Premier League's (IPL) global broadcasting rights for 10 years, a move that conforms to the Lodha Committee recommendations on transparency in business deals.
"We are happy to announce the tender process for IPL Global Media Rights (TV and Digital) for next 10 years," BCCI President Anurag Thakur announced in a press conference in New Delhi.
"IPL is now the fastest growing league, most popular cricket league in the world and sixth most popular sports league in the world so it is very important for us to make it transparent when we announce the next tender process because it is going to be a historic bid in the history of cricket world.
"Talent meets opportunity is what is the tagline of IPL and in the last nine years, we have seen that the world has recognised IPL as their favourite league. Top most players want to participate and BCCI is proud to introduce this league which others want to follow."
Currently, the IPL's media rights are held by Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), a deal that comes to an end after the event's next edition in 2017.
According to the invitation, different packages for Television and Digital will be on offer, which includes Indian subcontinent TV rights for 2018-2027, Indian Subcontinent Digital rights will be for five seasons from 2018-2022 and there will a five-minute delay for TV transmission.
As part of the process of bidding, BCCI said there will be no obligation for them to accept the highest financial bid and BCCI retains the discretion to amend process at any time.
"It is in keeping with the highest level of transparency. Sometimes you get very similar bids and then the financial adviser look at the value of the money. The final definition of the best offer for BCCI have to be left to the financial adviser," BCCI CEO Rahul Johri said.
"India still is a highly TV dominant country and we have to give it prominence over digital. However if the same person wins both TV and digital and if they wrote to BCCI, the five minute delay can be done away with."
Explaining the time table for the bidding, Johri said 18 October will be the last date for purchase of tender and 25 October will be the last date for bid submission.
Sony Network had the first right to make an offer to the board but the BCCI has decided to go for an open tender. The move is likely to find favour with the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel, which has advocated transparency in the BCCI's business deals.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 18, 2016
In 2008, World Sports Group bagged the IPL television rights for a 10-year period for USD 918 million. It signed a deal with Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd (MSM), making Sony the official broadcaster.
The contract was redone before the 2009 IPL with Multi Screen Media working out a USD 1.63 billion deal for nine years with the BCCI.
The invitation to the tender document will be available from Monday and Thakur made it clear that the process does not contravene the Lodha Committee's recommendations on transacting official business.
"This is a routine process, routine working of BCCI. I think the 21st AGM is not far away and you have to wait for three more days to understand what business we can adopt and what action will be taken during that time," Thakur said.