BCCI seeks Supreme Court view on media rights sale as ‘franchise services’

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has sought the Supreme Court view on whether its sale or grant of media rights qualified as taxable “franchise services,” therefore subject to service tax.

The issue arose after the Bombay High Court last year asked the cricket body to approach the Supreme Court to determine whether service tax can be levied for services rendered by the cricket board following agreements signed with MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pte Ltd and World Sport Group (India) in 2008 and 2009 in respect of telecast of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches being played in India.

A Bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud sought response from the Finance Ministry and the Commissioner of Service Tax, Mumbai, on the BCCI’s appeals against a demand for payment of service tax to the tune of around ₹250 crore, including penalty.

Challenging a part of the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal’s 2018 order that ruled against it, BCCI said its grant of media rights does not amount to providing of “franchise services” as the key ingredients to qualify as these services are not satisfied in its case.

BCCI is not granting the broadcasters any representational rights nor the latter are performing any output services or undertaking any activity which can be identified with the cricket body, senior counsel Arvind Datar told the apex court.

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