SC allows BCCI to go ahead with tenders for IPL media rights

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to direct BCCI to conduct e-auctioning of the telecast rights of the T-20 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches for five years from 2018. Their contention remained that “cricket is not coal” and the fact that “no sports property across the world gets sold through an e-auction”.

The plea made by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was not considered by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chadrachud.

Claiming that the present ongoing tender process was better suited by awarding the IPL media rights, Rai said it would maximise the revenue for the BCCI.

The 11th edition of the IPL is scheduled to start in April next year. However, it is believed that 24 companies have expressed interest in bidding for the IPL rights.

This petition prays that the distribution of IPL Rights which is scheduled on August 17, 2017 should be done in the most transparent mode available that is via e-Auction.

BCCI insiders told DNA that closed bids could be a temporary arrangement (media rights for 2018-2022) as with more number of bidders in the future may force it to go for e-auctions. Eighteen companies including Star India, Amazon Seller Services, Followon Interactive Media, Taj TV India, Sony Pictures Networks, Times Internet, Supersport International, Reliance Jio Digital Services, Gulf DTH FZ, GroupM Media India, beIN IP, Econet Media, SKY UK, ESPN Digital Media (India), BTG Legal Services, BT, Twitter and Facebook had bought tender documents earlier.

The Supreme Court had on July 28 sought the response of BCCI on Swamy’s plea that e-auction of the media rights should be done to ensure transparency as the rights are to be given for the next five years.

He had said that the amount involved in the award of IPL media rights was to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore and the issue should not be decided in an “opaque” manner. The worldwide media rights would be also in force for five years. The existing process requires all bidders to submit their best bid in a sealed envelope.

The three categories in which the rights are divided are as follows: Indian Sub-continent Television Rights, Indian Sub-continent Digital Rights and Rest of the world (ROW) Media Rights. And the final decision of awarding the rights would now be taken on September 4 in Mumbai.

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