ICC's media rights contingency clause ruffles Indian broadcasters

The ICC said, "These are confidential ITT matters and we can't be commenting on them."

ICC Head Quarters
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ICC Head Quarters. (Photo Source: ICC)

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The ICC has put out a media rights tender for the 2024-31 cycle specific to India, and the bids will be decided in the second week of September. But according to the latest reports, the Indian broadcaster are miffed with a couple of contingency clauses in the tender. Although the ICC have clarified the reason behind it, the media executives are expecting an amendment to the clauses.

There has been heavy rescheduling in the ICC cricketing calendar in the past couple of years, the pandemic being the major disruptor, and the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup was the prime example of it, as the tournament was initially scheduled to be hosted by Australia in 2020 but was later moved to India and was eventually moved to the UAE and Oman due to the pandemic.

Shifting the focus to the clauses, the ICC’s Invitation To Tender (ITT) states that if the scheduled tournament was to move to an Indian time zone, the broadcasters are going to be charged an extra fee, to the annoyance of the media executives. The broadcasters will have to shell out an extra 20 percent fee and no discounts in the inverse scenario, a double whammy for the media houses.

The second clause deals with the time zones of the tournament and states that the time zone will be within four hours of the IST, in case of relocation of venues is inevitable. The broadcasters are clearly baffled by these terms included by the ICC and one senior industry officer lambasted these legalities stating that the broadcasters will be on the receiving end if anything goes awry, and not the International Cricket Council.

“Basically, they will try to keep it within a four-hour time zone of India. No other adjustment, insurance or anything. Licensee is on the hook, they (the ICC) is not,” says an Indian broadcast official.

The disputed clauses in full :

“If, at any time during the Rights Period, IBC relocates an ICC Event that is scheduled to take place outside the Indian subcontinent (as set out in Schedule 1) to any country within the Indian subcontinent, upon notice being given by IBC to the Licensee (a “Rights Fee Increase Notice”), the amount of the Rights Fee apportioned to such ICC Event (as set out in paragraph 1.2 above) shall be increased by 20% (twenty percent) (a “Rights Fee Increase”).”

“If it becomes necessary to relocate any Senior Men’s Event scheduled to be staged in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh (as set out in Schedule 1) to another country (the “Replacement Country”) for any reason, including Force Majeure, IBC shall use reasonable endeavors to select a Replacement Country in a time zone that, at the time of the relevant ICC Event, is no more than four (4) hours behind or ahead of Indian Standard Time or is the United Kingdom.”