BCCI drafts tender for telecast rights

NEW DELHI: The Indian cricket rights soap opera is set to begin anew with the cricket board saying it has taken into account all "observations" made by the Supreme Court while drafting the invitation to tender for events between 2005 to 2009.

"We will abide by the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. Actually there are no guidelines, but only observations, and we have taken into account all that," Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) president Ranbir Singh Mahendra was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying.

The BCCI marketing committee met here today for about two and a half hours to draft the invitation that would be published in major national and some international dailies next week.

The Supreme Court's observations came while dismissing an appeal by Zee Telefilms against BCCI's decision to cancel its contract last year.

Mahendra did not react to media reports that the BCCI had framed the tender's terms in such a way as to make Zee ineligible to bid for the rights this time around.

Last time round, Zee Telefilms had emerged the top bidder when bids were initially opened with a quote of $ 260 million, followed by ESPN Star Sports at $ 230 million.

Pressed further if the events of last year had in any way influenced the thinking of the Board, Mahendra said, "We have no intention to keep anyone out of the purview."

However, a senior official of BCCI, who attended today’s meeting, told that the eligibility criteria drafted, once okayed, would effectively rule out Zee’s participation in the bidding process.

“After all, there has to be some criteria. We are looking at saying in black and white that to be eligible for the rights, one has to have three years of experience in telecasting cricket matches of international repute in India and abroad,” the BCCI official said, making it clear that the cricket board has not taken very kindly to the long drawn litigation process involving Zee and ESS that has cost the Board dearly in terms of revenue. also learns that BCCI has decided to sell the domestic cricket rights at various levels to maximise revenue. For example, rights for mobile phones, Internet and broadband would be sold separately.

Meanwhile, PTI quoted Mahendra as saying that a representative of the ICC Cricket Operations would come down to India at the end of this month to discuss the latest developments on the ICC Champions Trophy to be held next year.

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