The International Cricket Council (ICC), which recently released its first Invitation To Tender (ITT) for media rights for the next cycle of events starting in 2024, has said the complexity of its tender does not allow them to have an e-auction and it will continue with sealed bids.

The ICC on Monday launched the tender for its rights for the Indian territory alone for four and eight years (2024-31) and there have been apprehensions in the Indian market that the closed and sealed bids method being used by the ICC is not transparent enough.

Notably, BCCI used an e-auction process for selling the IPL rights recently and it received appreciation for its transparency from all quarters.

“It would be wrong to say there is no transparency. We are not using the e-auction clearly because we have a complicated set of rights available. We are inviting sealed bids, a methodology we employed in the past. It is not a straightforward single territory and single package of rights. We have different combinations,” said Anurag Dahiya, ICC’s chief commercial officer, on Tuesday.

The ICC package offers broadcasters to stake claim for four and eight years, linear and digital rights and it also provides for a provision of a composite. Apart from that, the ICC is seeking separate bids for women’s matches, for four years.

“We are selling men’s and women’s rights separately and test the market for four and eight years. And then there is the packaging of digital and TV. To address all that, an e-auction is too complicated. That is why we have remained with a sealed bid methodology. It is not unusual what we are doing,” said Dahiya.

Meanwhile, ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said that the venues for the women’s events will be announced at its annual conference next month.

“The women’s package is available for four years and we are looking to announce the host nations in July during the annual conference, in a month’s time. The unbundling of women’s rights is a natural progression because of the emergence of events. It has gained in profile,” Allardice said.

The women’s events include T20 World Cup in 2024 September-October, U19 T20 World Cup in 2025 January, World Cup in 2025 November, T20 World Cup in 2026 June, U19 T20 World Cup in 2027 January, and T20 Champions Trophy in 2027 February.

The men’s tender comprises four T20 World Cups (2024, 26, 28 and 30), two Champions Trophies (in 2025, and 29) and two World Cups (in 2027 and 31). There are also four World Test Championship finals (in 2025, 27, 29 and 31) besides four Under 19 World Cups (in 2024, 26, 28, 30).

According to the Cricbuzz report, the ICC is hoping to complete the sale in core regions by the end of the year.

“We will go to the UK, USA, and SA and then Australia-New Zealand. We will approach the other territories like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East, and so on and so forth later. These markets don’t like doing business way in advance,” Sunil Manoharan, ICC vice president – media rights, said.

Dahiya explained why the ICC decided against having a global composite bid for all regions, like in the past.

“Our philosophy has been to have direct contact with the broadcasters who have been servicing our fans. To achieve that we thought it is the best way to go territory by territory,” he said.

The ICC has not fixed any base price. The bids will have to be submitted on August 22 and successful bidders will be announced in the first week of September.

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