World Sports Group Strongly Contest IPL Tender Float

March 9, 2011

Sports marketing agency World Sport Group (WSG) has taken strong objection to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) move to float tender for television, internet, mobile and radio rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL), announced yesterday, March 8.

In a strongly worded statement, WSG has stated that BCCI’s move is in contrary to its submission in the Bombay High Court which restrained it from entering into any agreement with any third party for the worldwide broadcast rights contract for the IPL till the dispute is resolved.

The statement from WSG read as follows: “In its strongest public statement yet, World Sport Group (WSG) today condemns the BCCI’s decision to issue a tender notice for media rights to the Indian Premier League (“IPL”) even though the BCCI is yet to have its appeal in a dispute with WSG admitted by the Supreme Court following the Bombay High Court’s ruling in WSG’s favour.

“The invitation to tender is contrary to the decision of the Bombay High Court made by its ruling on 23 February 2011 and WSG believes it is an unfair, unwarranted and unnecessary attempt by the BCCI to create facts on the ground in the context of the Supreme Court’s forthcoming consideration of the admissibility of an appeal itself.

“The BCCI has issued a tender in spite of the undertakings given by it to the Bombay High Court, and WSG is advised that the tender violates the undertaking the BCCI has given to the Supreme Court.

“WSG is currently challenging the BCCI’s unfounded termination of its contract for the IPL’s worldwide media rights outside of the Indian sub-continent. BCCI’s purported termination of the contract was in itself a contravention of the contract’s terms for termination and was based on totally false allegations for which no evidence has ever been produced.

“In the recent decision of the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court on 23 February 2011, the High Court clearly stated that the BCCI had not produced any prima facie evidence that WSG had committed any fraud and promptly invited the parties to pursue the application for the appointment of an arbitrator in accordance with the very contract the BCCI was seeking to terminate.

“WSG notes that the unusually worded public tender notice make no mention whatsoever of the current proceedings before the Supreme Court. Further, based on information available in the market, WSG is also recently aware that a broadcasting agency close to the BCCI has already made claims to third parties in certain markets that it will be broadcasting the IPL on its channels. These claims have been made prior to the tender being issued and whilst the Court proceedings were taking place.

“The BCCI’s invitation to tender illustrates its continuing unwillingness to follow due legal process. WSG will take the necessary action to protect its commercial rights and those of its licensees around the world.”