Clear winners spotted after four-way bidding for ICC media rights

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There will be no second-round e-auction for the ICC media after a clear winner – or winners – emerged when the sealed bids were opened on Friday. The identity of the winner/s for the right to broadcast ICC events in India has not been disclosed yet – the ICC board makes that call on Saturday after a recommendation is sent to it by the media-rights advisory group appointed to adjudicate on the bidding process.

There has been no official communication from the ICC on whether a solitary winner won both the TV and digital rights or whether there were separate winners in the two categories. What is also not yet confirmed is whether the rights have been sold for four years or eight, as the ICC had kept the tenure of the rights flexible, in order to exploit the best number commercially.

Though the value of the winning bid is unlikely to be made public, the ICC is believed to have set a base price of USD 1.44 billion (for a four-year deal) and USD 4 billion for an eight-year one, Its last rights deal, for eight years, was worth approximately USD 2.1 billion. Because of the changing nature of the market and especially the digital streaming landscape, as well as the increased number of ICC events in this cycle, the expectation was that any new deal would be considerably bigger than the last one.

A total of six packages were on sale with the sealed bids opened on Friday at the ICC headquarters in Dubai in the presence of the bidders. It is learned that four bidders participated, including Disney Star*, Sony, Viacom and Zee.

After facing mounting pressure from the bidders over the past month over concerns about the transparency of the process, the ICC had said that an e-auction would take place as a second round of bidding should the value of the two best bids in the first round be within 10% of each other.

By Saturday, it is expected that the ICC Board comprising 17 directors will discuss the recommendations of the rights advisory group and announce the identities of the winner/s. The five-person advisory group includes ICC chair Greg Barclay, Ross McCollum (the chair of the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee), Anurag Dahiya (the ICC’s chief commercial officer), Richard Freudenstein (finance & commercial affairs director) and BCCI acting CEO Hemang Amin.

*Disney Star and ESPNcricinfo are part of the Walt Disney Company

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