Television

BCCI fixes base price for composite India rights bid at $ 350 million

MUMBAI: $ 350 million! That is the base price that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has set for prospective bidders for global (all territories) and for all media rights for India cricket for the next four years.

BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi, however, made it clear that parties interested in taking any particular piece of the India cricket rights cake could very well bid according to what specific areas interested them (territory or media). As regards media, the BCCI is unbundling cable TV rights, DTH, broadband, radio and mobile. What this essentially means is that if a single bidder quotes a higher figure for a composite tender than all the highest bids for each separate tender, it will get the rights.

The bids, which will be invited any time after cricket's most cash rich board meets to finalise the tender document on 23 January, will run from 1 April 2006 through to 31 March 2010.

Modi says that he expects the production tender to close by 4 February and that between the 4th and 10th of February all the remaining rights would have been parcelled out.

As for what comes in terms of cricket action for the successful bidders, it is this: A total of 162 days of live cricket that includes 12 Tests, 30 ODIs and seven days of offshore cricket. There are also 70 days of First Class cricket that will come inbuilt with this package.

As regards offshore cricket, it will essentially involve matches played between India and Pakistan and will be modelled on the Sahara Cup matches that were held in Toronto, Canada, some years ago. According to Modi, the US, which has a heavy Pakistani-Indian expat population, is one of the countries on the offshore plan map.

Kicking off the offshore cricket activity will be a two-match ODI series that will be played in Abu Dhabi on 18 and 19 April. This is a joint India-Pakistan board effort in association with the Abu Dhabi Cricket Association. The proceeds from this series will go to the earthquake relief fund and will be split 75:25 in favour of Pakistan because it was far harder hit in the devastation the earthquake wreaked than India.

Queried about the eligibility norms, former board chief and Punjab Cricket Association supremo IS Bindra made it clear that aside from the in-principal criteria that bidders should be sports marketing companies and / or broadcasters, it would basically be decided by who bid the highest.

BCCI TO PRODUCE OWN TELECASTS

Among the other key announcements made during the media briefing was that the BCCI would henceforth retain full control over all production of India cricket. Modi said that any broadcaster that got the telecast rights would perforce have to carry the BCCI logo alongside the channel logo. When queried over the BCCI channel around which there has been some talk, Modi said that the next four years would be devoted to taking complete ownership of India cricket and embedding the BCCI brand across the globe. If at all a BCCI channel comes up, it will not be in the next four years at least.

As per the BCCI's plans, a tender will be issued to appoint a production company that will be contracted to do all production work for the board. Telecast rights holders will be taking this BCCI feed and telecasting it on their respective platforms. Modi said the BCCI would ensure that the highest production values would be maintained and no expense would be spared towards ensuring that. So much so that the feed would provide for High definition TV broadcast quality.

BCCI 'NO' TO CHAMPIONS TROPHY PARTICIPATION POST 2006

The board also announced that after the 2006 Champions Trophy that will be held in India in September, it will not participate in further editions of the tournament. The board's focus is clearly to increase the tours by top teams like Pakistan, Australia and England to India that pull in more advertising moolah. In this regard Modi announced that over the next three years, Australia would be touring India. In October 2007 there is a 7-match ODI series planned, in October 2008 Australia comes over to play four Tests and in October 2009 there is another 7-ODI series scheduled.

The BCCI is also in talks with the England board regarding touring schedules.

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