Post the controversial auction, the ICC’s Media Rights have been sold to Star Sports. The broadcasters have bought both Television as well as Digital package. Last month, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing board of world cricket, released its television and digital rights tender for the Indian subcontinent ahead of the Asia Cup 2022.
The ICC’s Media Rights package consists of three elements: Television Rights; Digital Rights; Combined Rights distributed in 3 separate packages. While companies could bid for all three rights or an individual package.
ICC’s Media Rights Tender, What’s new:
This was the first time, the ICC media rights were being sold region by region. The highest bidder for the current tender, Star Sports will get media rights of the Indian Sub-continental region. The ICC clarified that a 2.8 multiplier formula will be applied for the eight-cycle. The media rights will be granted for the next eight years starting from 2024. This tender also includes a women’s rights package. However, it is separated as this right is only for 4 years, i.e. 2024-2027.
Moreover, the eight-year cycle includes numerous prestigious international cricket tournaments. The tournaments are as such- two ODI World Cups, three T20 World Cups as well as two Champions Trophies. Meanwhile, there are two Women’s T20 World Cups, one ODI World Cup, and one Champions Trophy in the women’s package.
How the Auction took place
The ICC had unbundled the rights for the men’s and women’s matches and was seeking separate bids for the next eight-year cycle. According to ICC’s bidding guidelines, the assessment documents were to be submitted at the ICC Headquarters in Dubai on August 22. While the submission date of the finance bid was August 26.
Due to the confusion among the broadcasters, the council later clarified that the bidding will go into the second round if the difference between the highest bid and the second highest bid was less than 10%. The second round of the bidding will be conducted via an e-bidding. While it seems that the winners are quite clear and there is no need for the second round.
The following broadcasters after several controversy bid for the ICC Media Rights- Disney- Star, Sony Sports Network, Viacom 18, and Zee. Moreover, with the highest bid Star Sports has won the ICC Media Rights for the following eight-year cycle.
The Controversy during the Bidding
While PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) made a sudden announcement of their no longer willing to serve as auditors for the bidding process. ICC even faced backlash from several broadcasters.
The four prominent broadcasters namely, Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), Viacom18, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), and Disney Star threatened to boycott the mock bidding if ICC doesn’t opt for a completely transparent mode of bidding. There have been mentions of how the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) media rights were sold via e-auction, ensuring the entire process was transparent.
Hence, only Amazon, and Dream Sports-backed FanCode had taken part in the mock bidding. Following the boycott, ICC relented and acceded to the demands of the broadcasters by offering them more clarity on the bidding process. However, Amazon at last pulled out.
The auction for ICC’s Media Rights Tender was nothing less than a soap opera. However, ICC seems to have found its new broadcasters in the face of Star Sports.
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