The ongoing struggle between BCCI and the Supreme Court appointed Lodha Panel shows no signs of abating and this has now led to the tender process for media rights of the IPL being deferred. The tender process, which was to have begun today, will now be delayed after the Panel sought clarity regarding the duration of ‘media rights period’ in an email sent late yesterday.
In a press statement issued late last night, the BCCI said, “In the absence of permission from the Committee to go ahead with the process scheduled for tomorrow, the BCCI is unable to do so.” It further called the events “unforeseen” and “something over which BCCI has no control”. It further said that once it receives directives from the Panel, it would inform the stakeholders. No new date was announced.
The release said that since the Supreme Court order on October 21 had made the Lodha Committee the "custodian" of the IPL tender process, the BCCI, despite being well prepared, had to wait for further directives from the panel before proceeding with the bidding for the IPL media rights which the board had decided would be secured through an open tender.
The Supreme Court, on Friday, had asked the Lodha Committee to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise the grant of contracts by BCCI, the world's richest cricket body and also to fix a limit on the financial transactions of the cricket board. BCCI says it has sent the committee all necessary details, including the paperwork submitted by the 18 bidders that had bought the invitation to tender (ITT) document. It has until December 3 to implement the reforms suggested by the Justice RM Lodha panel. These reforms were made binding on the BCCI in a Supreme Court order on July 18 this year.
The BCCI says that it sent requests on October 23, 2016 and October 24, 2016 to the Committee, expressing a need for urgency regarding the tender process. “The BCCI also informed the Committee that any delay in responding and resultant uncertainty was hurting the commercial interest of the BCCI as it would lead to devaluation of the commercial rights that were to be awarded,” the statement read.
According to the BCCI, “Today at 3:07 pm the BCCI has received a response from the Committee asking for certain further undertakings from the BCCI and sought further clarifications. These have accordingly been furnished to the Committee. The BCCI has received a response from the Committee a short while ago stating that it is in receipt of the communications from the BCCI and that it would issue directions after meeting amongst themselves. The BCCI, apart from the above communication, has so far at the time of going to Press, not received any further directions from the Committee, which is now the custodian of the entire process and has been tasked with the duty to ensure that the tender process is undertaken in a professional and transparent manner with least inconvenience to all stakeholders. Once the BCCI receives a response from the Committee it shall bring the same to the notice of all stakeholders as the BCCI is currently not in a position to take any decision in the matter other than what the Committee recommends. In the absence of permission from the Committee to go ahead with the process scheduled for tomorrow, the BCCI is unable to do so.”
Currently Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) holds broadcast rights until 2017. Their deal is going to end after the event's next edition. The same rights are expected to reach in excess of Rs 16,000 crore for a period of 10 years, according to industry sources, which is nearly double of what SPN had paid in 2008 (Rs 8,200 crore). When it comes to digital rights, Star India had bought the internet and mobile rights for a cumulative fee of Rs 302 crore for the three seasons in 2015. Social networking giants Twitter and Facebook along with Star India Private Limited, Sony Pictures Networks Private Limited and Reliance Jio Digital Services Private Limited are among the 18 entities that have purchased the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the IPL rights.