The Delhi High Court refused to intervene in a dispute between Prasar Bharati and BFPL, whether cricket matches telecast on DD-sports should be on the basis of free to air signals or on payment, the court said the issue involving BFPL should be decided by an arbitral tribunal as the party had a contract with DD. The Delhi High Court has declined to issue any direction to make Doordarshan’s sports channel free saying it would not be prudent as ESPN and Star Sports were pay channels.
The bench gave its ruling while deciding BFPL’s appeal, challenging Prasar Bharati’s decision to make DD-sport a pay channel after it had signed a deal of Rs 450 crore with the latter for marketing of cricket matches all over the world. Prasar Bharati, which was given exclusive right by the cricket board for telecasting cricket matches till 2004, had entered into a contract with BFPL in February last year for marketing the matches all over the world.
BFPL’s main contention was that when it signed a deal for marketing cricket matches, DD-sport was a free channel but after its conversion into a pay channel, company’s prospect of generating revenue had minimised while it had to pay Rs 45 crore as minimum assured revenue to the Prasar Bharati.