Broadcasters Demand Changes in Tender Process, Set To Boycott in ICC Media Right Mock Auction

ICC Media Right Mock Auction
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ICC Media Right Mock Auction

The threat of a boycott seems to be more serious than the International Cricket Council (ICC) may have thought, and the four Indian television broadcasters who have separately written to the ICC about certain provisions of the media rights tender have, somewhat unintentionally, come together around a common issue. Star, Sony, Viacom, and Zee will first abstain from the mock auction. The ICC plans to hold the mock e-auction on August 16 and 17.

A few rule adjustments have been requested by the broadcasters, particularly in relation to the deadline for bid submission. The ICC appears adamant about sticking with the original deadline of August 22, when the bids are to be filed, and August 26, when they are to be opened. “How can I leave my big figure with another party for four days? It is simply outrageous,”, the official emphasized the main concern of the broadcasters.

A representative of one of the four parties said, “The whole process is too opaque. That is the unanimous inference of all four broadcasters. It is designed to give them (ICC) too much flexibility.”

The ICC may claim questionable credit for the four largest media houses in India coming together for a similar cause while being business rivals ordinarily. However, it now seems that unless there is a significant modification of the restrictions, none of the four broadcasters will take part in the mock auction. The mock auction was originally slated to take place from August 12 to 16 but was then moved to August 16 and 17 due to the Indian holidays.

The closed procedure is the other main worry. The ICC has stated that given the complexity of its tender, e-auction, which was successfully used by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the IPL rights, is not practical. However, there is a sense that online bidding would have been the best course of action.

Additionally, the ICC has stated that when the envelopes are opened on August 26 the bid amounts of competing parties would not be disclosed. This has not been warmly received by the broadcasters. According to the regulator, disclosure would be useless if the bidding went to a second round because it would imply that all of the bids were competitive.

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