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BCCI in dilemma on IPL media rights, bid likely to be delayed

With the bidding process for the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights tender getting delayed in wake of the fresh order from Supreme Court on Friday, a top-level executive, whose company is looking to

India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: October 24, 2016 15:54 IST ]
File Photo of Anurag Thakur

With the bidding process for the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights tender getting delayed in wake of the fresh order from Supreme Court on Friday, a top-level executive, whose company is looking to invest in the multi-billion dollar bid, fumed over the lack of clarity by the BCCI.

According to a Times of India report, the executive termed the entire bidding process and the lack of clarity surrounding it at the moment as ‘theatre of absurd’.

“This has become a joke,” he said.

The incident happened on Sunday evening after an extremely confusing series of turnabouts took place within the BCCI corridors.

With less than 24 hours left for the IPL media rights tender process to kick off, the BCCI initially decided to release an official statement saying they were cancelling the bid process because they hadn’t received any reply from the Justice Lodha Committee to the letter they had written seeking clarification on the matter.

Then the board decided to send another release because there were some serious concerns on part of all stakeholders and potential bidders that had to be assuaged.

However, lastly, the BCCI decided not to release any statement. Here is the logic behind the board’s decision explained by a source.

“Assume the BCCI sends out a release saying the tender pro cess has been cancelled. Then what if the Lodha Committee says on Monday why was the tender process cancelled without waiting for a reply from the committee?”

“What can the BCCI do? They've (Committee) not replied to BCCI's email, so what does the BCCI convey? The Board can't say they're calling for the bids. They can't say they're cancelling the bids. It's best they keep quiet for another day,” he said.

Sources in the know of the development said that it was unlikely that the Committee would respond.

“If they respond, they can say only two things: a) Go ahead with the bidding, which they won't say; b) Don't go ahead with the bidding, which they don't really need to say,” the source was quoted by Times of India as saying.

Therefore, the Committee was left with only one option – to stay silent – which they ultimately did.

And because of technical as well as practical reasons, the bid cannot be opened on Tuesday and eventually the entire bidding process has to be deferred. This is the reason why BCCI hasn’t even sent out the final draft of the Media Rights Agreement (MRA) to the potential bidders.

Last week, social networking giants Twitter and Facebook were among the 18 entities that had purchased the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the lucrative Indian Premier League's media rights (broadcast, digital and mobile).

The rights on offer are Indian Sub-continent Television Rights from 2018 to 2027 (10 IPL seasons), Indian sub-continent Digital Rights from 2018 to 2022 (5 IPL seasons) and Rest of the World Media Rights from 2018 to 2022 (5 IPL seasons).

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