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BCCI to implement open tender for IPL rights contract

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has informed current Indian Premier League rights-holder, Sony Pictures Networks India, that it must compete with other parties in a bidding process for the next set of rights to the Twenty20 competition, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The PTI said the BCCI’s move is part of an effort to demonstrate complete transparency in its operations, with the governing body currently under substantial pressure to implement major reforms in its governance.

Sony Pictures Networks India currently holds the IPL’s broadcast rights under a 10-season deal that commenced with the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2008 and is set to run through to the end of next year’s event.

According to the PTI, Sony’s right of first refusal negotiating period for the next set of IPL rights came to an end on July 28. With the next IPL rights contract expected to be worth around $4bn (€3.54bn), the BCCI is said to have written to broadcasters stating that the media rights for the next period will be conducted through an open tender that enables “price discovery in a fair and transparent manner”.

The BCCI last week filed a petition in the country’s Supreme Court seeking a review of its decision to uphold the majority of reform measures put forward by the RM Lodha panel. The appeal came after the BCCI was handed a deadline of October 15 to implement a series of sweeping reforms to its governance.

While the BCCI is battling a number of the reform proposals, it is believed to be in agreement that more transparency is needed for commercial contracts such as broadcast rights. Regarding the next IPL contract, BCCI president Anurag Thakur told PTI: "I can't comment at this point of time but BCCI is happy with Sony Max's performance and we would have complete fairness and transparency in tender process for broadcast rights.”