The TV rights issue is picking up momentum for the first Afro-Asian Games to be held in India from November 3 to 11. Even as Doordarshan continues to be the lone Indian broadcaster in fray for the television rights of the Afro-Asian Games, a few foreign TV players TWI, are pitching for the global TV rights.
Among the foreign companies, TWI has confirmed its interest in bagging the TV rights for the Afro-Asian Games. TWI would be interested in beaming the Games to the other countries of the world, rather than in India. Since there are 96 countries associated with the Asian and African Olympic Councils, it will make good business sense for TWI to opt for international viewership.
TWI is in talks with IOA for the TV rights through an Atlanta-based marketing firm SMI, which is owned by Mr. John Lupton. Even as Mr. Hutton is unable to offer a timeframe by which a deal would be struck for TV rights, he says: ''it should be finalised as soon as possible.’’ With other major sporting events coming up such as the Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea, and World Cup Football in Japan, next year, TV sponsors must be tapped as soon as possible for the Afro-Asian Games, Mr. Hutton added.
On the national broadcasting scenario, Mr. Kalmadi said: ‘‘By next week, we should be able to sort out the issue.’’ If a deal were struck with DD, IOA would insist on the Games being telecast either on DD1 or DD2, perhaps with additional/repeat telecast on DD Sports. DD, however, is keen on telecasting the Games on DD Sports, which has a limited reach.
All events, according to the present schedule, will be played in the afternoon or late in the evening, thereby cutting into the prime time slots on Doordarshan.