New Delhi: For the first time in the history of Champions League T20, official TV rights holders ESPN-STAR Sports will pay for the tournament’s qualifying round this year — a cool $1.5 million.
Last year, they got the qualifying round — and a fourth Indian team — added free of cost. It is leant that ESPN-STAR Sports was immensely happy after the Champions League T20 governing council, headed by BCCI president N Srinivasan, acceded to their request.
Sources said the fee for the qualifying round was fixed at a recent meeting of the CLT20 governing council.
“Officially, this $1.5 million fee is towards the qualifier and related costs of the main tournament,” a source told MAIL TODAY. “Remember last year ESPN-STAR Sports had requested for a qualifying round and got their wish fulfilled when the BCCI acceded to it. It is quite possible that the CLT20 governing council wanted the broadcasters to pay for accepting its request to add the T20 champion team from Pakistan, Sialkot Stallions,” he said.
"Last year they got a qualifying round added to the Champions League T20 absolutely free of cost and then got a fourth Indian IPL team into the qualifying round, also without any increase in the fee.”
ESPN-STAR Sports bagged the CLT20’s global broadcasting and commercial rights for 10 years (2008-2017) for a whopping $ 975 million.
The 14 teams from eight countries — including four from India — will compete in the October 9- 28 tournament to be held at four venues in South Africa.
Quite interestingly, although there are three national cricket Boards on the CLT20 governing council, ESPN-STAR Sports has signed the contract only with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa are the other Boards.
The source pointed out that the BCCI has been strangely accepting all the “requests” of ESPN-STAR Sports, which is now demerging but is continuing to patronise the Champions League T20 as the joint venture.
Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of News Corporation, which owns STAR Sports and STAR India Pvt. Ltd., is buying out 50 per cent stake of ESPN in the joint venture.
The source said that at the CLT20 governing council meeting all the top officials of ESPN-STAR Sports were present, including Peter Hutton, who is replacing Manu Sawhney at the top.
Hutton had a long innings as a top gun with Taj TV (TEN Sports) while being based in Dubai till recently, and headed the operations of IMG when it opened its shop in India in early 1990s.
The source said that although the official reasons given for shifting the tournament to South Africa was the rains and festival season in October, there could be more to it that meets the eye.
“They said that during the October 9-28 period, matches could only be held in Delhi due to the monsoon season and festivities. So it was not feasible to host the tournament in India — and decided to shift it to South Africa,” he said.
“Remember, at the start of the year ESPN-STAR Sports had made several requests. One of them was to turn the Champions League T20 into a three-nation tournament. But, officially, the CLT20 governing council turned it down, saying that if it was done, it would become an FTP [Future Tour Programme of the ICC], which is meant only for national Boards,” he said.
“However, the council acknowledged that a home-and-away format for CLT20 and saw merit in it. Effectively, it implied the tournament be rotated among the three governing council members — India, Australia and South Africa,” he emphasised.
“The council decided to take a look at this area later while ordering an in-depth study into this. It seems the tournament being shifted to South Africa is a result of this.”
It remains to be seen where the 2013 edition of the tournament will be held. Will it be Australia?
ESPN-STAR wish costs $1.5 million
Last year, they got the qualifying round — and a fourth Indian team — added free of cost.By Qaiser Mohammad Ali | Mail Today – Mon 23 Jul, 2012 9:13 AM IST
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