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Bangladesh sees increased tax revenue from broadcasting international sporting events

Bangladesh has received significant revenue from some sub-continent based TV channels broadcasting sporting events including IPL, ICC and English Premier League.

According to TV channel insiders, Star Sports and Sony Pictures Networks paid over Tk 10 crore in revenue to the government of Bangladesh in the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22.

In the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22, the amount of revenue paid was Tk 4.40 crore and Tk 5.80 crore respectively, showing an upward trend.

For broadcasting Indian Premier League in Bangladesh in 2020, Star India had to pay more than Tk 85 lakh to Bangladesh government. Similarly, the government of Bangladesh has received about Tk 5 crore as revenue for the purpose of broadcasting the IPL of 2020, 21 and 22.

Of note, the government also derives revenue from tech giants like Google and Facebook, with support from the Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange department. Bangladesh has streamlined these tax revenues from major international broadcast rights holders and Bangladeshi television audiences enjoy uninterrupted live coverage of these events.

There was a big controversy that took place during Fifa world cup 2018 rights as Bangladesh Bank could not confirm how the money was sent to Fifa or its sub-licensee to broadcast the match live in bangladesh. For the same reason, the latest Pakistani tour in Bangladesh was not chosen by any broadcaster in Bangladesh, as the third party agent wanted to receive the rights fee without the bank channels to avoid taxes.

According to the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), international broadcasting groups like Star Disney and Sony Pictures must inform their respective countries of the amount they receive from other countries for sub-licensing programs in order to prevent money laundering.

However, a large number of Bangladeshi channels or OTT platforms broadcast foreign entertainment programs like Iranian or Turkish TV series, but the Bangladeshi government lacks significant tax revenue.

Md Mojibur Rahman, co-secretary (TV) of the broadcast wing of the Ministry of Information, told TBS that the ministry allows the broadcast of commercial content under certain policy obligations.

“The trend of increasing revenues for international sports broadcasters is the positive outcome of these policies,” Mojibur said.