Supreme Court refuses e-auction of media rights of IPL matches
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it was not inclined to change the method for the upcoming auction of media rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The auction scheduled to begin on Monday has now been postponed for 1 September. The rights would operate for a period of five years.
“We are not inclined to entertain prayer for e-auction of media rights at this stage. Needless to say, e-auction at this stage stands closed,” said a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy had moved the apex court on 11 July, seeking e-auction of media rights for IPL matches.
The court, however, kept the matter pending to address issues relating to conflict of interest between IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and Star TV, as claimed by Swamy. He has been directed to file an affidavit on the issue.
“Media rights should be done through an e-auction. The current process is a sham and we want to ensure that e-auction is opted,” Swamy had earlier told the court.
An e-auction was sought so that the process could be made more transparent.
Currently, IPL’s TV broadcast rights are held by Sony Pictures Networks Pvt. Ltd, which will expire in 2017 with IPL’s 10th edition. The internet and mobile rights, however, were awarded to Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a unit of Star India, for a period of three years to 2017.
The ninth and 10th editions of the IPL in 2016 and 2017, respectively, are the last two seasons before the current broadcasting rights expire.
Singapore-based World Sport Group bagged the IPL broadcasting rights for 10 years in 2008 by spending $918 million. A year later, the contract was replaced when Sony Group (through Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd) paid $1.63 billion for nine-year broadcasting rights.
The auction process was delayed last year on the apex court’s directive to comply with the reform recommendations of the Lodha panel first.