The RFP (request for proposal) for the production services of Indian cricket could lead to an unprecedented, if not an unforeseen, scenario with Star Sports being in the midst of the potentially interesting situation. Star has been made eligible for producing Indian cricket matches -- domestic and Indian Premier League (IPL) games. The question now is what if Star bags the production services and Sony ends up bagging the India cricket rights.
It is a situation that is being talked about in the Indian broadcast circles seriously of late and that could be the reason why the BCCI RFP says the rights are initially for only one year with the board reserving the right to extend the period. Still it could be unfathomable to imagine a situation as to Star producing the pictures for rival Sony, or Sony Pictures Network, who is expected to go to any length to bag the India rights. The India rights will come up for sale in less than a month.
It is not to say Star, who held the India media rights for six years, will not be a contender. Knowing Star's marketing strategy and command over the broadcast business, it would be fair to presume that it is also strong contender, particularly after the way it managed to wrest the IPL rights from rival Sony, but still the situation throws up some interesting scenario - of two rivals working for each other.
Allowed by CoA
That said, Star which has been allowed to bid for the production services by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) recently, will not be the only contender. IMG London, which produced the IPL for the last 10 years, will be a strong competitor just as the new entrant, Sunset + Vine, a London based production house that produces the matches for the International Cricket Council (ICC). Sunset + Vine had previously worked with the BCCI in the US. It was during the two Twenty20 Internationals India played against West Indies in Florida in 2016. There could be another surprise bidder too. With the BCCI opening up the production services for private parties, there is another obvious question - what about BCCI's own production house. Mirror understands that the current bidding are only for the IPL and the BCCI's domestic matches. The board wants to continue producing the international games at home. Which means, all the commentators will be engaged by the board.
Even for the IPL the BCCI wants to have a say in the selection of commentators although picking the commentators and production crew is the sole discretion of the production house. The BCCI has sent out letters to prospective commentators to find out if they are available for the IPL commentary.
BCCI website offline
It was a moment of avoidable embarrassment for the BCCI managers as its website, bcci.tv, went offline because of failure to renew the domain site in time. It is understood that the renewal gets automatically done periodically but for some unexplained reason, the credit card payment did not happen in time.
One is given to understand that the renewal fee is only nominal although for the cash-rich BCCI that cost would have never have been an issue. Although the domain has been registered in the name of Lalit Modi, a persona non grata for the BCCI, the former IPL chairman has apparently nothing to do with the site going off line. The payment was made on Sunday and the website was restored in the afternoon. – Ahemdabad Mirror