Four Indian cricket top broadcasters—Disney Star, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), Viacom18, and Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE)—have separately written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about specific clauses of their media rights tender. They claimed the current tender document discouraged them from submitting a bid.
"The whole process is too opaque,” said a representative of one of the four broadcasters.
“That is the unanimous inference of all the four broadcasters. It is designed to give them (ICC) too much flexibility,"
InsideSport reported that the broadcasters sought clarification on more than 200 points. They also requested a few rule changes, particularly regarding the bid submission deadline. They wanted bids to open on the same day they are submitted.
However, the ICC appears to be sticking to the original deadline of August 22 for bid submission and opening on 26. It has also proposed a hybrid system. This means that on August 22, an evaluation team will review the bids and decide whether or not to present them to the ICC Board.
"How can I leave my big figure with another party for four days? It is simply outrageous," a spokesperson said.
Before the tender process, the ICC's governing body met with each potential broadcaster several times to discuss the requested changes. The ICC has since issued written clarification, answering the broadcasters' questions in detail. That said, it did not make major changes to the tender process.
“ICC officials have made a mess of this. The answers to our queries have made it more confusing for us. All their answers are ambiguous," another spokesperson said.
The four broadcasters then said they would boycott the mock auction, which will take place on August 16 and 17.
“They’ve asked us to participate in a mock-auction this week [between the 16th & 17th]. We’re yet to confirm the same, don’t know about the others. What I can tell you is, we’ll be watching this till the final hour,” a representative said.
ICC media rights tender process
Bids for the ICC Media Rights tender process must be submitted in a sealed envelope by August 22. The bids will be opened in Dubai on August 26, after which the ICC will negotiate with each bidder. The successful bidders will be announced in early September. Technical and financial bids must be submitted separately.
“BCCI’s decision to conduct the same of IPL rights through e-auction not just helped them with great price-discovery but also, and more importantly, ensured that all the bidders enjoyed a level playing field.” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said.
“ICC’s refusal to take this into consideration raises a lot of questions on the process. Even if they didn’t want to consider an e-auction, what we can’t understand is, why should the closed bids not be opened on the day of submissions, in front of all the bidders?”
Interested parties must bid for four years, with the option of claiming for an additional eight years. One can place separate bids for television and digital rights as well as a combined bid for both.