Television

Broadcasters term cricket rights price high

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NEW DELHI: A new floor price of $ 450 million set by the Indian cricket board for telecast rights of Indian cricket is being termed by wannabe bidders as being on the higher side.

A top contender for the rights admitted to Indiantelevision.com, The price in the re-issued tender document, which combines the satellite and terrestrial rights (as done usually in the past), is a bit unrealistic and on the higher side.

It was also pointed out that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), under a new regime, has got over ambitious by asking for $ 450 million for telecast rights even though Indian cricket sells.

After stating that it would be reissuing the Revenue Management Company tender, the Indian cricket board scrapped the whole thing and issued a new document combining the tenders for terrestrial and global satellite rights. The new floor price: $ 450 million, combining the minimum guarantees of $ 350 million and $ 100 million for the earlier two proposed tenders.

With new media norms stating that cricket will have to be shared with pubcaster Doordarshan on a mandatory basis and the controversies generally surrounding the cricket rights, the high floor price is adding to inflated tensions of sports broadcasters.

That the new asking price is stiff can be gauged from the fact that even a financially strong company like Zee Telefilms, which emerged the highest bidder with a quote of $ 308 million in 2004 for the telecast rights, might find it difficult to raise $ 450 million.

Banking sources admitted that Zee Telefilms may have to re-negotiate some terms with financial institutions for additional funds as at present it has the mandate from its bankers for a bid up to $ 350 million only.

The sources indicated that a South East Asia headquartered sports broadcaster too would have to stretch its financial resources if it wants a slice of the action.

However, BCCI officials justified the floor price of $ 450 million by saying Indian cricket is a lucrative proposition and that its straight calculation without any hidden costs.

They also said that non-serious players get weeded out if the floor price is being termed high.

Why is it that just when people start thinking the cricket telecast rights are being settled, news twists are added?

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