BCCI invites bids for IPL rights; WSG vows to fight it out

The BCCI floated tenders for global mobile, internet and radio rights, along with TV broadcast for certain territories, of IPL matches between 2011 and 2014, a move that has been challenged by its estranged partner World Sport Group (WSG).

In a public announcement, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said, “The Indian Premier League (IPL), a sub-committee of the BCCI, invites bids in respect of global internet and mobile rights along with certain television rights.”

The board is, however, selling IPL radio rights excluding for the Middle East. It is also inviting bids for worldwide TV broadcast, excluding territories of the Indian sub-continent, Australia, South Africa, the Middle-East, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The announcement comes at a time when the board is embroiled in a legal tussle with WSG that had initially bagged the global broadcast rights outside the Indian sub-continent.

WSG has challenged BCCI’s decision to scrap their contract last year over the alleged payment of facilitation fee of Rs 450 crore to ex-IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

“WSG will take the necessary action to protect its commercial rights and those of its licencees around the world,” the company said in a statement.

Condemning BCCI’s move, WSG further said: “…the BCCI is yet to have its appeal in a dispute with WSG admitted by the Supreme Court following the Bombay High Court’s ruling in WSG’s favour.”

BCCI secretary N Srinivasan and MSM officials refused to comment on the issue.

At present, Multi Screen Media (MSM), owner of Set Max TV channel, holds the Indian sub-continent broadcasting rights of the domestic T20 league until 2017.

BCCI had signed a deal with World Sports Group in 2008 for USD one billion for the IPL broadcast rights and was later revised upwards to Rs 8,200 crore when MSM came on board.

However, in June last year, a new deal was renegotiated between the BCCI and MSM which kept WSG out of the broadcast deal. It was done after the board uncovered alleged financial irregularities in the award of contract by Modi.

Criticising BCCI’s tender, WSG further said it is currently challenging the “BCCI’s unfounded termination of its contract for the IPL’s worldwide media rights outside of the Indian sub-continent”.

BCCI’s purported termination of the contract was in itself a contravention of the contract’s terms for termination and was based on totally false allegations for which no evidence has ever been produced, it added.

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