BCCI to finalise India cricket telecast deal by mid-January

NEW DELHI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will finalise awarding of telecast rights in approximately 21 days time by when some uncertainties on government norms relating to broadcasting are likely to get cleared.

We should be finalizing the telecast deals by mid-January by when more clarity will come on issues like sharing of sporting events with Doordarshan if a private broadcaster wins the rights, BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi said today.

However, the tenders for the telecast rights will be floated towards month-end, which will also give the BCCI time to study the various pros and cons relating to broadcasting issues vis-?-vis new media norms.

But buoyed by the more than enthusiastic response for team sponsorship rights, the BCCI expects the telecast rights to fetch good money.

At one level, I dont think the Doordarshan angle should be a hindrance as telecasting the matches on DD will mean more eyeballs for all sponsors, said Modi, whose company Modi Entertainment Network used to handle the distribution of Ten Sports in India till some months back.

We expect the telecast bids to be on the higher side, he added.

According to latest government norms, all sporting events of national importance will have to be shared on a mandatory basis with Doordarshan by private satellite broadcasters. This issue has raised the hackles of the industry and the likes of Ten Sports and ESPN Star Sports have moved court against such stipulations that also cover events for which deals had been signed earlier.

Last time round the BCCI, under a different regime, had invited bids for Indian cricket in 2004, Zee Telefilms had topped the charts with an initial quote $ 260 million, followed closely by ESS at $ 230 million. ESS had subsequently upped its offer to $ 308 million which Zee, being the initial highest bidder had matched and was awarded the rights. The matter had then landed in the courts after ESS, on technical grounds, contested the awarding of the rights to Zee. Since then the telecast issue has been in and out of various Indian courts. 

Interestingly, todays bidding process for Indian cricket teams sponsorship rights at a five star hotel in Delhi was observed keenly by representatives from Cricket Australia, including its chairman.

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