SLC cops mighty finantial blow
June 4, 2015

Financially struggling Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) seems to have already paid the ultimate price for political meddling and uncertainty at official level, as there shockingly had been just one bidder for the three-match Test series against India, and they have also offered just peanuts for the deal.

SLC’s long-time TV rights partner Taj TV, the owners of Ten Sports, was the only company that has shown any interest in the series but the real shocker has been the unbelievably below-par amount they are willing to offer.

Taj TV had offered a measly US 1.4 million (Rs. 189 million) for the three test matches which has stunned the local officials who had been present at the Gregory’s Room of the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo when the bids were opened at 2.30 p.m. yesterday.

The paltry bid means that the bidder had valued a Test match involving cricket world’s financial powerhouse India at a rate of just US $ 467,000 (Rs. 63 million).

Sources said that the figure contrasted starkly with the figures the same company – Taj TV – offered in 2013 for Sri Lanka’s series against India scheduled for 2017.

Taj were forced to offer US $ 25.127 million for the full series that includes three Tests, five ODIs and two T20 Internationals. They paid US $ 2.5 million per Test, which meant SLC would receive US $ 7.5 million for the three Tests. The deal was signed and completed in 2013.

Star TV is paying US $ 7.86 million per match to Indian Cricket Board under the US $ 750 million TV deal they have signed from 2012-18. SLC losing millions of US Dollars under suddenly-appointed interim committees whenever there is an Indian tour is nothing new to Sri Lanka.

In 2010, SLC filed arbitration proceedings against Nimbus after the TV company failed to honour a staggering payment of US $ 3.6 million that was due for securing rights of India’s ODI series against Sri Lanka played in January 2009.

Nimbus secured the TV rights for that series when the then sports minister Gamini Lokuge suddenly appointed a one-man Competent Authority to govern and this CompetentAuthority shockingly and out of the blue, cancelled the existing TV rights deal with Ten Sports which was to run till 2013 and awarded the rights of that one home series against India in January 2009 to Nimbus.

Immediately after the series was over, SLC ironically signed a deal again with Ten Sports till 2013 taking a U-turn against the company which the minister earlier said had signed a corrupt deal. In addition to suffering Nimbus failing to make due payments, SLC

had to atone for the failure to deliver this promised home series against India to Ten Sports and had to offer the next Indian series to be played in Sri Lanka in 2017 to Ten Sports, as advised by the Attorney General.

SLC failed to get the due money from Nimbus as SLC under the CompetentAuthority appointed by the Minister had overlooked and failed to secure a bank guarantee which is a basic requirement in such deals.

An analyst pointed out yesterday that the lack of interest in the series could be attributed to the fact that Sri Lanka’s poor ranking in Test cricket and also the fact that they would be missing two of their biggest stars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. “Team is in a re-building phase, so Sri Lanka cannot expect to mount a serious challenge against India” he said.

Still the offered figure is pathetically below average figures that can be expected for a series involving India, he added.

One source said that the lack of interest by TV companies was quite strange and pointed out that the sole bidder had been quite confident in quoting such an outrageously low figure.

“Advertising it only in the local newspapers and the SLC website is not the right strategy to attract bids from Indian TV companies” he added. SLC officials have made several trips in the recent months to ICC head office in Dubai, once by three top officials and the sports minister to meet ICC Chief Executive David Richardson even when Richardson and ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan had offered the minister officially in writing to come down to Sri Lanka and have discussions. Taj TV is also based in Dubai. An SLC source told “Daily Mirror” however that they have the right to accept the bid offered by Taj or decide if they should consider other options.

File photo of Sri Lanka cricket team. The poor performaces of the Sri Lanka team is seen as one reason for such a low bid.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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