Jul 12, 2020

SLC to renegotiate Sony bid Featured

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will renegotiate the terms offered by Sony Pictures Networks India to buy media rights of the Sri Lanka national cricket team for the next three years.

Sony who had long associated with SLC was the only bidder for the media rights when the bids were opened on Wednesday but SLC isn’t happy with what has been offered. Accordingly, they will engage in discussions with the Indian based broadcaster to hike the price.

The Sunday Times learns, the Sony offer was approximately around US$ 22.5 million for the period in which Sri Lanka is scheduled to feature in 25 Tests, 60 ODIs and 38 T20 internationals during the new FTP term which began on April 1, 2020. The scheduled includes two limited over series by India to Sri Lanka.

The SLC was hoping for at least US$ 30 million for the period, given the two Indian tours and two tours by England and Australia but the current market scenario and COVID-19 related business implication seems to have played a key role in deciding their offer.

However, Sony had earlier pulled out of the race when the bids were called in February citing lack of transparency in the process. Unlike in previous years, SLC floated three separate tenders for TV and radio broadcast rights, TV production rights and digital broadcast rights spanning the three years in view of its partnership with Sony (formerly Ten Sports) ending on March 31 this year.

This is the first time SLC floated digital rights separately. This decision seems to have cost the board dearly. Sony wanted SLC to combine television/radio broadcast rights with digital rights which they did when they went to the market second time around.

Pay television broadcaster Sony held the media rights for seven years running from 2013 to end-March 2020 for a sum of US$ 34.873 million. This was without the rights for the India tour of Sri Lanka in 2017 which the board had earlier sold to the same company for US$ 25.5 million. Therefore, SLC’s total TV rights deal with them worth US$ 60.373 million. The production rights costs were around US$ 14-15 million, also held by Ten Sports.

Cricket boards in Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand are struggling to tie up with a broadcast partner due to the current global market scenarios and one observer said Sri Lanka was lucky to have the confidence of their long-standing partner.