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SC seeks BCCI response on why e-auction not to decide fate of IPL media rights

NEW DELHI: The BCCI will have to explain why e-auctioning of media rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is not being taken.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of BCCI on why IPL media rights should not be e-auctioned to bring out the best price and transparency in the bidding process.

This was in response to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking e-auctioning of media rights of the IPL.

The apex court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar issued notice to the cricket board and asked it to file its reply within two weeks.

The matter is posted for further hearing on 22 August before the tender process concludes.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for CEO of the board, said that the court should not entertain Swamy’s plea and the tender process had been approved by the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA).

BCCI could lose around Rs 400 crore if e-auction was done, Singhvi said.

The apex court has asked senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for CoA in the main BCCI matter pending before the court, to assist it in the case.

TelevisionPost.com had earlier reported on the diverse views relating to the e-auction of IPL media rights. Some media executives had questioned the effectiveness of e-auction for selling media rights, which has multiple components in it. Will all the rights including TV and digital be separate and can’t be clubbed? What if a composite bid for TV and digital is the highest amount?

They also said that the price realisation of the IPL rights would be the highest under the current system as the bid amount of others would not be known. The best example of this is the recent five-year IPL sponsorship rights, which fetched Rs 2,199 crore. Chinese mobile company Vivo retained the rights while the next highest bidder was way behind. Oppo, the only other player to participate, bid Rs 1,430 crore.

“If IPL media rights are clubbed for an e-auction, it will leave out many prospective bidders who are only interested in some part of the rights. If they are separate, what happens if a company’s composite bid is higher than the total amount from separate winning bids? The BCCI would probably want to have that flexibility,” a senior broadcasting had said.

It may be recalled that Swamy, who has fashioned himself as a crusader against corruption, moved the Supreme Court demanding e-auction of the IPL media rights. According to him, the amount involved in the award of IPL media rights is to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore and the issue should not be decided in an opaque manner. His contention has been that  e-auction would bring transparency to the whole process as it has done in the case of telecom and coal auctions.

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