Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - ICC Media Rights: Indian broadcasters surprised by contingency clause. Are the broadcasters ready to pay a premium in case the tournament is relocated to an IST time zone?
Are the broadcasters ready to pay a premium in case the tournament is relocated to an IST time zone?
A couple of contentious clauses in the media rights tender of the International Cricket Council (ICC) have caught the Indian broadcast companies by surprise. The clauses deal with rather hypothetical scenarios, albeit with expensive consequences. The media executives have dashed off clarifications, seeking course corrections.
Specifically, the clauses in the ICC's Invitation To Tender (ITT) dwelling about a shift of a tournament to an Indian time zone warranting extra fee, and not in a situation to the contrary, have not amused the industry executives here. The broadcaster will have to shell out 20 per cent more in the first scenario and no discounts in an inverse eventuality. The ICC will make efforts to ensure the venue will be in a time zone with a difference of four hours of the IST if relocation is inevitable.
Disruptions, cancellations and postponements are not unprecedented in the ICC calendar. In 2020, the T20 WC could not be held in Australia because of the pandemic and in 2021, the tournament, allotted to India, had to be moved to UAE because of the Covid situation. In the past, the matches were played out of Pakistan on security grounds.
The clauses go like this: “If, at any time during the Rights Period, IBC relocates an ICC Event that is scheduled to take place outside the Indian subcontinent (as set out in Schedule 1) to any country within the Indian subcontinent, upon notice being given by IBC to the Licensee (a “Rights Fee Increase Notice”), the amount of the Rights Fee apportioned to such ICC Event (as set out in paragraph 1.2 above) shall be increased by 20% (twenty per cent) (a “Rights Fee Increase”) and:
(a) the total Rights Fee and the relevant instalment(s) of the Rights Fee to which the relevant ICC Event relates, as set out in paragraph 1.2 above, shall be increased by the Rights Fee Increase (and the attribution of the Rights Fee as set out in paragraph 1.6 for all ICC Events adjusted accordingly);
(b) the Deposit payable under this Agreement shall be increased by the Rights Fee Increase and, to account for this, the Licensee shall, within ten (10) Business Days of receipt of the Rights Fee Increase Notice, make an additional payment into the Designated Account of an amount equal to 5% (five per cent) of the Rights Fee Increase; and
(c)the Licensee shall provide additional Bank Security (unless agreed otherwise with IBC, in the form of a separate Bank Security to the existing Bank Security(ies)), in accordance with Clauses 7.23, for the amount of the Rights Fee Increase.
The second clause:
“Without prejudice to its rights to determine all matters relating to the competition format for the ICC Events (including location/country) as set out in Clause 5.2, IBC shall use reasonable endeavours to procure that each Senior Men's Event shall be staged in the country or countries (as applicable) specified in Schedule 1.
“If it becomes necessary to relocate any Senior Men's Event scheduled to be staged in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh (as set out in Schedule 1) to another country (the “Replacement Country”) for any reason, including Force Majeure, IBC shall use reasonable endeavours to select a Replacement Country in a time zone that, at the time of the relevant ICC Event, is no more than four (4) hours behind or ahead of Indian Standard Time or is the United Kingdom, subject to the availability of suitable Venues and any geopolitical, sporting or climatic factors affecting or likely to affect the staging of an international cricket tournament.
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Licensee acknowledges and agrees that the final determination of any Replacement Country shall be at IBC's sole discretion.
“The ICC shall not be liable to the Licensee for cancellation, partial cancellation, postponement, abandonment, relocation or curtailment. The ITT also says the ICC will not be responsible in the event of “failure of or defect in the transmission of the Live Feed.”
The ITT points out the obligations of the broadcasters and says there cannot be a demand for refund.
“20.1 The Licensee acknowledges and agrees that IBC, the ICC, the Hosts and their respective officers, agents, employees and associates have no obligation to take out or maintain insurance cover in respect of the risk of cancellation, partial cancellation, postponement, abandonment, relocation or curtailment of any ICC Event or part thereof or the failure of or defect in the transmission of the Live Feed.
“20.2 The Licensee shall bear such risk as set out in Clause 20.1 and shall have no claim for any refund, reduction or apportionment of any fees due to IBC.
“20.3 The Licensee shall be responsible for taking out and maintaining any insurance cover in respect of the risk of cancellation, partial cancellation, postponement, abandonment, relocation or curtailment of any ICC Event or part thereof or the failure of or defect in the transmission of the Live Feed. For the avoidance of doubt, the Licensee shall not however be obliged to take out or maintain such insurance cover.”
An industry official said, “Basically, they will try to keep it within a four-hour time zone of India. No other adjustment, insurance or anything. Licensee is on the hook, they (the ICC) is not,” says an Indian broadcast official.
The ICC said, “These are confidential ITT matters and we can't be commenting on them.” The ICC has put out an India specific tender for the 2024-31 cycle and has said the bids will be decided in the second week of September.