India defeats could hit BCCI rights fees in new tender

The Board of Control for Cricket in India may have to sell rights for the India national team for a lower price following the team’s poor performances in its ongoing tour of Australia, a senior official told the Financial Express.

India, which lost its status as the top-ranked Test team in the world after a 4-0 Test series defeat in England last year, has lost the first three matches of its four-match Test series in Australia.

“There is a possibility that broadcast rights may go for a lesser price,” the official said, citing “back-to-back heavy defeats in two of the most-awaited overseas series”. The official added that lower fees would represent bad news for regional associations, which get a share of the board’s rights income.

The BCCI’s next tender will cover worldwide rights for India’s Test, one-day and Twenty20 matches, as well as some domestic tournaments. In December, the board cancelled a four-year deal for the rights, from 2010 to 2014, with the Nimbus Communications agency. The Rs20 billion (€307 million /$389 million) contract was terminated after the board accused Nimbus of failing to pay rights fee instalments on time.

Television ratings in India for the tour of Australia have been poor as a result of the team’s lack of success, the Economic Times reported. Some industry observers have warned that cricket’s commercial value is facing damage.

Sanjay Kailash, executive vice-president of sales at pay-television broadcaster ESPN Star Sports, said: “If eyeballs move away from cricket over a period of time, the value for the game will depreciate… Right now, cricket is still the biggest sporting property in India. But as we develop as a nation, our preferences and watching habits are bound to change.”