Sony TV's owners in India, Multi Screen Media; ESPN-Star Sports; a Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL)-led consortium; and Reliance-Network 18 are all rumoured to be in the mix for the latest multi-platform rights to broadcast India's cricket matches.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will select the winning bid on Monday (2 April) in Chennai, determining who has the rights to broadcast India's international cricket matches from July 2012 to either 2014 or 2018.
Multi-Screen Media (MSM), which already covers the Indian Premier League on its MAX channel, is one of the major players to have bought a tender document, according to Business Standard. However, the broadcaster, which is to launch a new sports channel called Six later this year, has not confirmed the report.
Whomever is selected will be the BCCI's exclusive TV, mobile and internet broadcast partner for India's test, twenty20 and one day international cricket matches for the next six years, with base terms set at those agreed by the previous rights holder Nimbus Communications until April 2014.
Nimbus, whose four-year contract was terminated prematurely in December 2011 after it defaulted on BCCI payments, had agreed a rate of INR 31.25 crore for the broadcasting rights of each Test, one day international, and twenty20 match played in India.
The new tender rates outlined by the BCCI on 7 March are split into two periods. The base price remains the same for all matches until the end of March 2014, which was the duration of the board's now cancelled contract with Nimbus. INR 1 crore of this covers internet and mobile TV distribution rights.
Then, from 2014-2018, the base price for each international match rises to INR 34 core, including INR 1 crore for internet and mobile rights – equating to a 5.42% rise in the base price.
Broadcasters will reportedly be able to bid for BCCI hosted matches from either 2012 until 31 March 2014, or from 2012 straight through to 2018.