India’s top cricket body, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and Nimbus Communications—the company with the broadcast rights for all matches organized by the former—are engaged in a dispute over payment of broadcast fees for the ongoing India -Sri Lanka series.
BCCI says Nimbus has to pay up. Nimbus says the matter should be decided by arbitration.
In a note dated 4 February, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah had threatened to invoke a bank guarantee provided by Nimbus, should the company not pay the contested amount of Rs46.70 crore.
Part of the dispute concerns the reworked schedule of matches organized by BCCI. According to the original plan, India, West Indies, and Sri Lanka were expected to play a three-way series of seven matches. This was changed, and the new schedule involved two separate series—one, a four-match series featuring India and West Indies, and another, four-match series, featuring India and Sri Lanka.
The broadcast fees for the seven-match series was fixed at Rs163.50 crore, the number Nimbus is standing by and that for the two four-match series together, at Rs186.80 crore, the number that BCCI is standing by (it has raised an invoice for this).
The other part of the dispute concerns a match between England and India that was scheduled to be played in Guwahati last year, but had to be abandoned because of rain. This claim had previously been rejected by BCCI in October.
In an email reply to the note from Shah, Nimbus chairman Harish Thawani said all payments were “totally up to date as per contract.” He added that “while the question of equitable decrease/increase due to match decrease/cancellation/increase has been under discussion between BCCI and Nimbus, the way forward agreed was to seek expert opinion.”
Nimbus won the rights to all matches organized by BCCI between 2006 and 2010 for Rs2,724 crore. The company agreed to pay this amount in instalments for every series or tour. Each of these is assigned a value and Nimbus has agreed to pay 50% of the amount 30 days before the start of the tour, and the remainder within seven days of the end of a tour.
In his note of 4 February to Nimbus, a copy of which is in possession of HT, Shah writes, “It leads us to believe that you are only creating an artificial dispute to delay your commitment towards BCCI.” This is to refer the matter to arbitration, it is stated in another internal BCCI note.
When contacted Niranjan Shah said, “They (Nimbus) are our partners. It is our internal matter, and we cannot divulge anything.” He, however, did not deny the content of the note.