Income from Sub-Licencing of Sports Broadcasting Rights for Live Transmission, Not Royalty Income

In an order dated January 5, 2024, the Delhi High Court held that the amount earned from the sub-licensing of sports broadcasting rights towards live transmission could not be categorised as royalty income.[1]

The present appeals were filed against decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). The respondent had declared an amount of Rs.65.4 Crore as royalty income in its return for AY 2015-16. It was submitted before the Revenue that the said amount accrued on account of ‘non-live’ feed and the remaining amount of Rs. 1115.91 Crore was earned from ‘live’ feed, which was outside the scope of royalty under Section 9(1)(vi) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The Division Bench of Justice Yashwant Varma and Justice Girish Kathpalia concurred with the view taken by the ITAT and held that the fees received by the respondents for live transmission could not be considered as royalty income.

[1] Commissioner of Income Tax – International Taxation v. Fox Network Group Singapore Pte Ltd. (ITA 812/2023) and another case