ICC rights for satellite and cable LHC stops state TV-Indian channel deal
LAHORE: After hearing the final arguments in a writ petition filed by Independent Music Group SMC (Pvt) Limited (Geo Super), the honourable Lahore High Court (LHC) decided the petition, directing PTV that instead of sub-licensing cable and satellite rights of ICC events to Indian Ten Sports, PTV must sell these rights only through open and transparent bidding process in which both the petitioner (Geo Super) and Ten Sports be given equal right of participation.
It may be recalled that PTV had acquired from ESPN exclusive broadcasting rights for all ICC events for the next four years for terrestrial as well as satellite and cable TV for an extremely high amount of $30 million. According to sources, PTV’s decision to offer such a high bid was dictated by its determination to exclude Geo Super from showing any ICC events.
Having acquired the rights at such high price, PTV had no option but to bring another broadcaster for cable and satellite rights. Learning of this, Geo Super had expressed its keenness to acquire these rights from PTV at a competitive price. Instead of evaluating the commercial value of Geo Super’s offer, PTV commenced negotiations with Indian media group, Zee’s sports channel, Ten Sports, with the object of sub-licensing these rights to Ten Sports. The details of the proposed deal between PTV and Ten Sports were never made public.
Most importantly, the proposed secret and bilateral deal was in clear violation of the law as laid down by the Supreme Court that no public body can dispose of or alienate any property, rights or interest without following a transparent process of open bidding.
After detailed arguments in court yesterday, PTV’s counsel failed to satisfy the court as to why PTV was so keen to sub-license its rights through a secret and bilateral deal.
While the written order is awaited through the oral order announced in court yesterday, Justice Umer Atta Bandial disposed of the petition by stopping PTV from entering into any bilateral or secret deal and by requiring it to offer these rights to both Ten Sports and Geo Super transparently and through open bidding.
Saim Hashmi of Ahmed and Qazi, Advocates and Legal Consultants, argued the petition on behalf of Geo Super, while Ali Kazim of Raza Kazim Associates represented PTV.
Source: THE NEWS