NEW DELHI: The numbers are going beyond believable as far as India
cricket is concerned. Subhash Chandra's Zee Telefilms has secured
the rights for the latest money-mopping plan the Board of Control
for Cricket in India (BCCI) has pulled out of its cupboard --- for
matches played by India at neutral venues (non-ICC member countries)
over the next five years.
And the winning bid: a whopping $219.15 million (average of $ 8.77
million per match) for 25 matches spread over the next five years.
25 matches will involve mainly Pakistan as the opposition, but will
also include top cricket countries like Australia, England and West
Indies. With this, the minimum bid guarantee of the BCCI has crossed
the $1 billion mark all told.
Zee Telefilms also becomes the rights holder for radio and broadband
in non ICC member countries where matches may be played. It would
also negotiate with pubcaster Doordarshan independently for a terrestrial
"This cricket property puts us on a strong wicket and would
help us in our growth," Zee Sports business head Himanshu Mody
told Indiantelevision.com, adding that "the loss of
India cricket rights have been more than made up".
The other bidders in the fray for the overseas rights were ESPN
Star Sports (disqualified for bidding below the floor price), Nimbus
and Sahara One Media & Entertainment.
The media rights for this latest piece of the India cricket pie
will be inaugurated with the two-match Indo-Pakistan limited over
series that will be held in Abu Dhabi later this month. The presenting
sponsor is Indian real estate major DLF and the ground rights for
this series was secured by PDM International for $ 3.61 million.
Salim Altaf (right) and BCCI's Niranjan Shah sign an agreement,
while Lalit Modi (left) and IS Bindra look on
Pointing out that Rs 900 million are expected to be generated from
these two matches, BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi said 50 per cent
of the proceeds will go to Pakistan for earthquake relief fund,
while the rest will be donated to the Indian Prime Minister's relief
Pakistan Cricket Board's director cricket operations Salim Altaf,
who was present during the opening of the financial bids as an independent
observer, also exchanged documents with BCCI secretary Niranjan
Shah, signifying an understanding between the two countries for
playing matches under a bi-lateral agreement.
The 25 matches are to be played in places like Abu Dhabi, Dubai,
Sharjah, Holland, Lords, Oval and Birmingham in England, Toronto,
New York, Tristate Area, Houston, Chicago, Palo Alto, Singapore,
Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
According to BCCI's Modi, negotiations are on with the respective
countries for venues. All the matches will also be recognized by
the International Cricket Council and form part of India's playing
HOW THE DIFFERENT BIDS STACKED UP
While Zee is likely to end up paying a total of at least $ 219.15
million over a period of five years on an average price of $ 8.77
million per match, the break-up of payment year-wise varies.
According to documents circulated by the BCCI today at a press
conference here, Zee bid $ 5.04 million for the first year, $ 6.03
million for the second year, $ 6.66 million for the third year,
$ 8.10 million for the fourth year and $ 18 million for the last
Similarly, the other bidders too had bid separately for every year.
ESS had bid $ 2.86 million for each of the five years.
Nimbus bid $ 5 million for the first year, $ 6 million for the
second year, $ 7 million for the third year, $ 8 million for the
fourth year and $ 14 million for the fifth year with an average
of $ 8 million per match.
Sahara's bids were $ 5.32 million, $ 5.41 million, $ 6.40 million,
$ 7.21 million and $ 10.90 million for each of the five years where
on an average per match was costing $ 7.048 million.
On being asked how does it feel to be on the losing side, Nimbus'
chairman Harish Thawani shot back, "Seeing the winner's bids,
I feel we got the rights to India cricket cheap. I wish Zee all
Nimbus had bagged the four-year rights of Indian cricket for a
whopping $ 612 million, beating the likes of Zee Telefilms ($ 513
million and ESS.
DRAMA BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT
Can anything related to cricket and BCCI be bereft of drama? Probably
Before the media was apprised of the transparent way in which the
BCCI conducts its affairs, especially those relating to bidding,
journalists were kept waiting at a five-star hotel here as a closed-door
meeting of cricket officials and representatives of bidding companies
Reportedly, there were two adjournments when frantic calls were
made by some of those present in the meeting to their bosses.
It seems there was some confusion regarding the way prices of every
one year of the five-year contract period were to be quoted and
When that got sorted out, discussions took place on the formal
protests lodged by Zee Telefilms and Nimbus relating to the submission
of financial bids by Sahara yesterday in Mumbai.
While Modi reiterated that there were "no irregularities"
in the Sahara bid, Zee Sports' Mody smiled away questions on yesterday's
protests. "We don¡'t have any issue now," he said,
while sharing the dais with BCCI officials.
While making a grand exit from the press conference, BCCI's Modi
said, 'These rights will ensure coverage of matches played by India
in non-ICC member countries as well. Professionalizing this aspect
of Indian cricket management will make the sport, especially the
Indian game, accessible to Indian communities across the globe,
including the non ICC member countries."
BCCI debunks bidders objections
(Photo by Sanjay Sharma/Indiapix Network)