Exclusive: ICC clarifies media rights process for broadcasters, but lack of transparency still

International Cricket Council issues list of clarifications to broadcasters' concerns . Broadcasters remain perplexed over ICCs approach to this whole process .

MUMBAI (MUMBAI)-The International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a list of clarifications on Friday that broadcasters requested last month in relation to the tender document to sell television and digital media rights for the next cycle.Following the ICC's Invitation-To-Tender (ITT), broadcasters raised a slew of concerns about the e-auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights.While the clarifications have surfaced-some are listed below-broadcasters remain perplexed over the ICC's approach to this whole process.The ICC maintains that if it remains unconvinced by the bids received in Round One, the results of which remain undiscussed, the bidding will proceed to Round Two, which will be executed via an e-auction without specifying the metrics on which the decision will be made.

Below are a few examples of the questions raised by the broadcasters, how the ICC has responded to their questions, and how the ICC has responded to these frameworks from the perspective of the ICC.Despite several players in the industry, as well as the BCCI, the ICC has invited closed bids, indicating that an e-auction, as in the case of IPL, may be the best option.The ICC has suggested that if it is dissatisfied with the broadcasters' closed bids but hasn't specified the satisfaction threshold, it will call for Round Two of the bidding process, which will be done by way of an e-auction.The ICC hasn't stated why it considered a closed bid over an e-auction in Round One.

According to the tender document, the ICC had invited bids for four and eight years, but broadcasters can submit either or both, without specifying the precise criteria of how the winning bid will be identified and what multiplications will be used to determine whether a four-year bid is preferred over an eight-year bid, based on the broadcasters' value.The ICC hasn't explained the cause of these problems.Clarification received: The ICC hasn't made any changes to this, and broadcasters say they are at their wits end trying to figure out the reasons for this.According to the tender document, the ICC had earlier said that once the bids have arrived, their own executive team will open the bids privately-and not in front of the bidders-at a later stage and announce the winning bid after a month without revealing any details about the financial bids.

Clarification received: The only change made is that once the bids are submitted on August 26, the ICC will now open the bids inside a locked room before a representative of each broadcaster.The ICC will however, not give these individuals any details about their financial offer and will invite them to leave the room and then examine the bids privately to determine the winner.According to the tender document, the ICC had said that the broadcaster would be required to withhold all tax payments for any tournament hosted in India.Clarification received: The ICC has now announced that the broadcaster will not be required to withhold any tax payments for any tournament hosted in India and that the governing body will take the burden.

According to the tender document, the ICC said that any tournament that is moved to India or a country that is inherently India-friendly would have to pay 20% more due to the nature and scope of the cricket-friendly industry.The ICC has now published a clarification that means that if a tournament is moved to India or an India-friendly time zone, it will also be charged 20% less in the case of a tournament being moved out of India or some India-friendly time zone.According to the tender document, the ICC had not disclosed any details of a possible Round Two of bidding that would be conducted via an e-auction before, and had not provided any timelines for the same.The ICC has now stated that if they are dissatisfied with the bids submitted in Round One, a round two of bidding by way of an e-auction will be called in the next 48 hours, without specifying the criteria for being satisfied.

While broadcasters stayed true to their demands for greater accountability, the ICC, it is learned, is forced to keep the option of an eight-year cycle alongside the possibility of four years due to the pressure of member boards, who rely on the ICC for a lot more revenue.Apart from that, ICC sources claim that the current tender system is the most efficient one for price discovery.According to those monitoring developments, they believe that a closed bid will raise the stakes.