Broadcasters express displeasure over BCCI's match rates: Report

MUMBAI: With the BCCI rights up for grabs after being postponed to 3 April 2018, Star India and Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) are expected to slug it out to win the bid. Both broadcasters have, however, written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) making their displeasure known in regards to the upcoming India rights as reported by CricketNext. The main reason, report says, is that the BCCI wants the media rights winner to pay the same amount for matches involving two visiting teams playing on Indian soil.

Star India, in its letter, which CricketNext claims to have possession of, has written, “The average viewership on Indian matches is significantly higher than on non-India matches (as surveyed during the Asia Cup in 2016). Even an India match with a non-Test playing nation generates more viewership than two major Test nations playing each other. The bidder is expected to attribute the same per match value to any such match without any realistic possibility of recovering such value. Paying the same per-match value for India matches and non-India matches is not commercially viable. We request the BCCI and the CoA to reconsider their position.”

SPSN has also expressed similar sentiments in its letter, says the report. “These last-minute changes on the bid documentation and the online bid is making it difficult for us to prepare for the bid on 3rd April. As you know, there are a lot of calculations and modelling that goes into a bid preparation and these last minute changes create so much uncertainty. One issue that is particularly of concern is regarding tri-series in India organised by the BCCI. The clarification says all matches will be valued the same. This means an India-Afghanistan-Bangladesh or an India-Bangladesh-Zimbabwe will be valued equally with an India-Australia-South Africa. This quite frankly is illogical. Advertisers and even the viewing public do not value these matches equally and for the BCCI to consider all of them as having the same value does injustice to bidders. We would earnest request BCCI to reconsider,” SPSN’s letter to the BCCI reportedly said.

Star India paid Rs 3851 crore for the India rights to broadcast the matches from July 2012 to March 2018 leaving behind the closest bid of Rs 3700 crore by Sony Pictures Networks (SPN). SPN also lost out to Star India for the Indian Premier League after televising the cash-rich league from 2008 till 2017. SPN, however, has bolstered its cricket pipeline after bagging the broadcasting rights from Cricket Australian and the English Cricket Board in the subcontinent, taking its tally to seven Test-playing nations.

"The whole idea was to strengthen our overall leadership position," Rajesh Kaul, the president of SPN's Sports and Distribution Business, had said last month. "ECB was a very important and integral part of the strategy. While Australian cricket happens during the winter here, cricket in England is during the summer. There is a very encouraging trend of other sports also getting traction in this part of the world but cricket is still the largest. And to have that dominant leadership position in cricket was very, very critical for us."

Also read:

BCCI sweetens the pot for bidders of India rights

BCCI invites bids for e-auction of India rights

BCCI invites brands to acquire third-party rights for IPL

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