ICC media rights: Audit firm PWC opts out of bid process; Cricket body says they were on board for ‘due diligence’ | Cricket News

MUMBAI: Global accounting and auditing firm PriceWaterHouseCoopers UK (PWC), advising the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the sale of media rights for the next cycle beginning with the India market, are learnt to have quit the process.
While precise details of why PWC have decided to opt out are unclear, their exit comes on the heels of broadcasters constantly reminding the ICC that the process set in place for sale of rights is convoluted and lacks transparency.
When asked for details, ICC told TOI: “PWC were contracted to support the ICC’s media rights sales process in two phases. Firstly, providing background checks as part of the due diligence on all bids which is ongoing. The second element was to act as an independent third party to hold the financial bids securely between submission and opening.
“Recent clarifications to bidders confirmed that bids can be submitted and opened simultaneously meaning PWC’s services were no longer required to securely hold financial bids. PWC continue to support the process in other respects.”
The development takes place after a series of exchanges between the ICC and the broadcasters when the latter kept telling the governing body that the media rights tender was “confusing” and kept requesting for amendments.
Here is a FAQ on the points that broadcasters had raised over the last one month.

Last week, the ICC brought about certain changes to the tender process in an attempt to assuage the broadcasters’ fears and shared the same in a list of further clarifications, which can be read here.

The broadcasters, however, wrote back to the ICC between Monday and Tuesday, informing them that they still weren’t convinced with the process, especially on two counts: 1. ICC’s decision to not announce the bid numbers in everybody’s presence; 2. The ‘Hybrid’ model for auctions, where Round One entails a closed bid and if that doesn’t work, Round Two will call for an e-auction.
“How can a ‘hybrid’ model work? Let’s say, for instance, a broadcast company’s board sanctions Rs 100 for the bid. Are you saying, the broadcaster won’t put the entire Rs 100 in the closed bid? What will it save for? And then, if Round One doesn’t work, opt for Round Two? Why will any broadcaster want to participate in Round Two,” a senior industry executive said.
PWC were brought on board to advise / consult on drafting of the media rights tender and the eventual bidding process. BCCI’s interim CEO Hemang Amin and his Cricket Australia counterpart Nick Hockley were also part of the advisory panel that made “recommendations” to the ICC.
Amin, who was part of the tender-drafting process when BCCI was planning the sale of Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights, had made some similar “recommendations” to the Indian cricket board, advising them to have a closed bid and allow consortiums. BCCI secretary Jay Shah, however, ensured that e-auctions alone would be the way forward for transparency to set in and ‘transparency’ happens to be a key word missing in the ICC media rights process.
TOI can confirm that Shah, as India’s representative at the ICC’s Chief Executives Committee (CEC), had urged the global body to conduct an e-auction. However, the ICC decided to go ahead with a closed bid and have e-auctions in Round Two (in case they weren’t satisfied with the numbers received through closed bids) – a ‘hybrid’ model that did not sit well with the broadcasters.

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