Sony bids $40 million for Indo-Pak series

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has made a composite bid of $40 million to get the satellite TV telecast rights of the upcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, indicating a high price broadcasters are willing to pay to control cricket programming.

Sony's offer to BCCI includes air time sales and telecast rights for India and international territories. The Madras High Court has already mandated the telecast feed of the matches to pubcaster Prasar Bharati, but kept all the other rights including air time sales and production contract with the BCCI to decide.

According to a source, Sony has made a three-tier bid, offering the cricket board different options for a deal.

As an alternate offer, Sony has bid $26 million for the international and India satellite TV rights. As a third option, Sony has made a bid of $10 million for international telecast rights, the source says.

"We have made different bids so that the board can weigh its options and take a decision accordingly. The only thing we have stayed out of is bidding for just the production rights," the source adds.

Several broadcasters and sports marketing agencies have evinced strong interest in the India-Pakistan series. Nimbus Communications had bid in the range of $33-45 million, depending upon the "quality of coverage, type of the matches and swiftness in decision making." This includes air time sales, sale of international rights and TV production for the series.

Dubai-based Ten Sports, Pakistan-based broadcast company ARY Digital and sports marketing firm TWI have also bid for the rights, according to industry sources.

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