IPL 2009: 18 days to go, but no decision on broadcaster yet

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 24, 2009
On Monday, 23 March 2009, the Bombay High Court lifted the injunction imposed on BCCI against signing contracts with other parties

The fate of Multi Screen Media (earlier Sony Entertainment Television) is still unclear. On Monday, the Bombay High Court lifted the injunction imposed on the BCCI on March 15 as per which BCCI could not sign any new agreements.

Following the termination of the contract by the BCCI and the reissue of the rights to WSG, MSM had moved court challenging the decision on March 17.

MSM had sub-licensed the telecast rights from WSG for five years during the inaugural season of the IPL.

The BCCI has entered into a deal with World Sports Group (WSG), Mauritius, for the telecast rights of the coming season of the tournament. According to the deal, WSG can sell the broadcast rights of the league to any other broadcaster. It is learnt that both BCCI and MSM had tried for an out-of-the court settlement.

At one point of time, it seemed like a happy ending, after both the parties almost agreed on all contents of the deal except one. BCCI refused to agree to the non-terminable clause, which meant that under no circumstances, can BCCI terminate the agreement with MSM.

Currently, it is learnt that there are two broadcasters in the fray - NDTV Imagine and ESPN STAR Sports - contending for the exclusive broadcast rights of the IPL. According to informed sources, NDTV Imagine is the front runner, although officials at NDTV Imagine declined to comment on this. BCCI officials also could not be reached for comments.

However a source close to the development also said that MSM will try to renegotiate a fresh deal with IPL as it can't afford to lose it now. "Since the time is very short, it will also be a challenging job for any other broadcaster now," the source said. Meanwhile, SET Max had been promoting the tournament by displaying a countdown along with the channel's logo, until Monday.

MSM stands to lose about Rs 350 crore that it was expecting to generate from the second season of the IPL. It has apparently raised about Rs 200 crore in ad revenue and has also been running promotion campaigns for the league.

Meanwhile, IPL officials Lalit Modi, Sundar Raman and Dheeraj Malhotra have left for England today to hold talks with the cricket authorities of the country about the prospects of holding the IPL overseas. As an aftermath to the Government of India stating its inadequacy to provide security to both the General Elections and the IPL simultaneously, the IPL will now be held in South Africa or England.

© 2009 afaqs!