IMG set to keep IPL event management role with India braced for TV rights auction
IMG, the international sports agency, looks set to retain its role as the event manager of the Indian Premier League, the high-profile Twenty20 competition, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India is preparing to launch the highly anticipated tender for the broadcasting rights.
IMG helped to devise the IPL concept, and has carried out event management services for the league since it launched in 2008.
However, in the interests of transparency and good governance, the BCCI decided to conduct an open bidding process for the contract for the next five years, from 2018 to 2022.
A decision has been taken in principle to award the rights to IMG although the contract has not yet been signed off, a BCCI source told the Mumbai Mirror today.
Neither the governing body nor IMG have provided official confirmation.
The agency has a long history in cricket and told Sportcal in May: "IMG has enjoyed a very successful partnership with the IPL since inception and is hoping to continue that role going forward."
It is understood that the bids were opened in Delhi yesterday and the unsuccessful applicants were Indian agencies Rhiti Sports, Wizcraft and Group of 4.
Rhiti Sports is headed up by Arun Pandey, a long-time associate of former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and has worked with various sports teams, including the IPL's Chennai Super Kings, which Dhoni played for between 2008 and 2015.
The BCCI issued the request for proposal for the event management services on 15 June, with relevant companies asked to submit expressions of interest and make a non-refundable payment of Rs200,000 ($3,112) by 5pm on 29 June.
The governing body has already tied up a deal with a title sponsor for the next five years, with Vivo, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, retaining the rights at a cost of Rs22 billion.
This leaves the most valuable IPL property, namely the broadcasting rights, to be marketed.
The BCCI is due to launch the tender for rights for the next five years on Monday, but the situation has been complicated by the submission of a petition to the Supreme Court from Subramanian Swamy, an Indian politician and member of the country’s parliament, requesting that it takes place via an electronic auction.
He has argued that this will provide complete transparency for the tender, helping to maximise revenue and prevent vested interests from benefiting unduly.
Swamy said that he expected the matter to be heard on Friday of this week or Monday of next week.
Sony Pictures Networks has held the exclusive domestic TV rights to the IPL in India in a nine-year deal worth Rs82 billion that expired after the 2017 tournament, but it is expected to face significant competition from rival Star India, which has owned the digital rights for the last three years, in the forthcoming auction.
The Indian television rights alone are expected to generate up to Rs300 million.
The original process for the sale of domestic and international IPL television and digital rights was postponed last October amid a legal battle between the former BCCI administration and the Supreme Court.
Last year, the BCCI attracted expressions of interest in the IPL rights from 18 Indian and international companies, including internet giants Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, before being forced to delay the process.