• BCCI might wait until Zee & Sony merges to sell media rights for bilateral cricket matches

    BCCI might wait until Zee & Sony merges to sell media rights for bilateral cricket matches
    Before launching a tender for future bilateral series involving the Indian cricket team, the BCCI may wish to wait a little longer...

    Digital Desk: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may not issue a tender document to sell media rights for the Indian cricket team's bilateral series immediately following the Indian Premier League, as the richest cricket board may wait till the Zee-Sony merger is completed, reports industry authorities.

    According to one of the insiders, the BCCI may prefer to wait a little longer and see how the Zee-Sony merger plays out before issuing a tender for future bilateral series involving the Indian cricket team. It is unclear whether the BCCI will sell the rights for four years (from 2023 to 2027) or a different term, says the source.

    Zee Entertainment Enterprises is apparently in talks with creditors to repay debts and complete the merger with Sony Pictures Networks India, which will create a $10 billion media conglomerate in India. Sony Corp. Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida recently stated that the anticipated merger between Sony and Zed will be completed by the first half of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31. BCCI has yet to react to the questions.

    Sony used to broadcast the IPL on its channel until 2017 when the rights were purchased by Star India (now Disney Star). Sony Sports Network also has broadcast rights to games from England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

    For all ICC events, Disney Star has the exclusive rights to broadcast and stream matches on TV and its digital platform. It also has the Asia Cup rights until this year.

    Star Sports India outbid Reliance and Sony for the BCCI media rights for both television and digital platforms in 2018, paying Rs 6138.1 crore. The rights were valid from 2018 through 2023.

    Based on a source, the BCCI will want to release the tender before the Asia Cup this year, but it will want to be certain that the Zed Sony merger has been completed before tendering the rights.

    Pakistan will host the 2023 Asia Cup, which will take place in September.

    Another major issue at the moment is how the BCCI will package the rights, according to a source, given that the board may want to maximise value following the split distribution of five-year IPL rights between Reliance and Disney Star, who paid a total of Rs 48,390 crore in an electronic auction to secure the digital and TV rights.

    Reportedly, BCCI would separate television broadcasting and internet rights for India's future bilateral series. According to some industry experts, the property will be worth more than Rs 15,000 crore, or over $2 billion, over the next four or five years.

    However, reports say that the future fixture's format mix (Tests, ODIs, and T20Is) will influence the valuation.

    BCCI has also been reported to have been discussing whether to use e-auctions or other methods. Following the debut of the Women's Premier League, which had some financial value, the BCCI may also split the rights of men and women's rights.

    According to media reports, some industry experts believe that the BCCI is concerned about generating large profits from selling bilateral rights because broadcasters have previously been unable to recoup the whole money invested for each match.

    Following the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP), the Indian men's cricket team will play 38 Tests, 42 one-day internationals, and 61 T20 internationals between 2023 and 2027.