Broadcasting deal new headache before BCCI reforms


Call it the Lodha effect or signs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India taking first steps in initiating reforms as suggested by the Supreme Court, when the television rights deal for the Indian Premier League is negotiated, it will be CEO Rahul Johri who is likely to call the shots.The BCCI’s current IPL broadcast deal — which was signed in 2007 — with Sony concludes after the next season. As per the contract, the board has to negotiate a new deal before August 30 and Sony also have the first right of refusal for the period between 2018-22. Though the BCCI woke up late to this clause inserted by the broadcasters and then IPL chairman Lalit Modi, many in the board believed Sony would increase the bid amount considering that brand IPL has kept growing despite controversies.Negotiations between Sony and BCCI on continuing the association has been taking place for sometime and it is understood that both parties are far from reaching an agreement. Sources indicated that the channel is quoting a very low amount. The BCCI seems to be expecting at least $3billion per year and with the first refusal option in their hands, Sony seems to be quoting a lesser figure.Though the BCCI can go ahead and start a bidding process in case Sony’s bid is not acceptable to them, there is another clause they have to overcome to fetch a significant amount. It is understood that even if the BCCI invites new tenders and a third party bids a certain amount, Sony would still be given 60 days to match it or pull out. The BCCI’s marketing committee will meet on August 3 to look into the matter and though president Anurag Thakur is set to chair the meeting, it is Johri who is likely to sign on the dotted lines in case a deal materialises.The Lodha panel has already told BCCI office-bearers that they cannot negotiate huge deals and as per recommendations, it is the CEO who has more power. “The panel had stated clearly that the CEO has to handle the administrative part and it is natural that he will represent the board. It isn’t like he will have the final say because it will also involve the office-bearers as well. Rahul has already been around for sometime and knows it. If Sony doesn’t quote what we expect, then we definitely have to look elsewhere,” sources in the board

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