New cricket TV bids could be invited this week

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The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is likely to open up fresh bids for TV rights this week. However, this time round the bids are likely to be segmented into different categories including rights for radio, DTH and broadband. ���I am making a presentation to the marketing committee (of the cricket board) on Monday. Hopefully this week the tender for telecast rights should be out,�۝ Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Lalit Modi told the website IndianTelevision. According to Modi, the Board sees no reason as to why the bids from broadcasters should on the lower side. ���I don�۪t see why people are saying government regulation will push down the value of Indian cricket. Rather, this time we expect to collect more revenue by selling various (broadcast) rights,�۝ Modi added. In 2004, when BCCI had invited bids, which got entangled in protracted legal battle, ZEE Telefilms had ultimately quoted a humungous $ 308 million for four years of right to Indian cricket. ZEE was closely followed by ESPN Star Sports. However, this time broadcast industry feels that a government norm of sharing cricket feeds with pubcaster Doordarshan on a mandatory basis, apart from other listed sports, will push down the price of Indian cricket. Ten Sports and ESPN Star Sports have already challenged the norm in courts, while for the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series, the government waived the sharing norm for Test matches when cornered in Supreme Court over rights fee to be paid to Pakistan cricket rights holder Ten Sports. But the BCCI thinks otherwise and Modi echoed the feelings when he said that the cricket administration body is with the government on the sharing norm. ���BCCI is happy that DD will get to show cricket matches as its terrestrial reach outstrips that of any satellite broadcaster. Any popular game should reach out to the maximum number of people free of cost,�۝ said Modi, fresh from making a presentation before the International Cricket Council (ICC) members in Karachi last week. ICC chief Ehsan Mani had expressed his reservation on the Indian government ruling related to TV rights and had trashed the same saying such a diktat will financially impact cash-strapped Council members.

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