Court tells Pakistan TV to issue cricket rights tender

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 15-12-2011

The Lahore High Court has ordered the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTC) to issue new tenders for sub-licensing its rights to broadcast international cricket matches over the coming three years.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial made his direction following a petition by the Independent Music Group SMC, which was seeking the exclusive TV rights to international cricket for its channel Geo Super.
The petition stated that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had granted the television for their cricket events to ESPN, which had then sold on the rights for four years to the PTC for PKR 2.676 billion (US$30 million).
The PTC then entered back to back arrangements to sub-license cricket broadcasting rights to Indian channel Ten Sports, according to the petition, which added that on 27 October, Geo offered to form a joint venture with PTC to broadcast ICC events on the terms and conditions being offered to Ten Sports, but it refused the offer.
The broadcaster argued the conduct of the PTC was a violation of their fundamental rights, and asked the court to prevent PTC from selling the rights to Ten Sports as it was an Indian channel.
The PTC attorney meanwhile submitted that the Music Group participated in the bidding, but their offer was rejected because they did not meet certain requirements. The group, he said, was a loan defaulter and owed the National Bank PKR 1.5 billion and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) PKR 50 million.
The group's financial position was unsound, he said, adding it also demanded exclusive rights, which was not on offer from the PTC.
When the PTC won the broadcasting rights for the cricket matches from ESPN, he asserted that Geo was a rival bidder, and that the Supreme Court had already ruled that a party could reject a business offer from a rival.
Disposing of the petition on 13 December, the judge directed the PTC to invite bids for sub-licensing the broadcasting rights to international cricket games from 2012-2015, and complete the process as soon as possible.