Just two days after public broadcaster Prasar Bharati threatened to take legal action against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it has been roped in as part of the contingency plan. Now, Doordarshan will telecast the first two Test series - against Australia and South Africa, sources close to the development said.
DD will also show the platinum jubilee game in Kolkata on November 13.
Under the new arrangement, Ten Sports will take charge of production.
Sony Entertainment Television (SET) will distribute these matches, it is learnt.
That is, Sony would sell the rights outside India, as an industry insider put it. A revenue-sharing formula between the various parties is being worked out.
This arrangement has been made to stave off any legal problems, a senior official with a private channel said. As things stand now, all three broadcasters, which had bid lower than Zee and ESPN-Star Sports in the original tender process, have a role in the two-series contingency plan of BCCI. In the original tender Zee had bid the highest, followed by ESPN-Star, Prasar Bharati, Sony and Ten Sports.
Although BCCI had announced last week that Ten would produce and Sony would telecast the two series against Australia and South Africa, DD’s entry has altered the gameplan. Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma had told reporters last Friday that the public broadcaster was an ‘aggrieved party’ as it had been denied the chance of telecasting the Australia and South Africa series. Mr Sarma had threatened to move court. Zee has already filed a writ against the BCCI decision to award the first two series to Sony.
The India-Australia series will consist of four Test matches and India-South Africa series will have two Test matches. The Australia series begins on October 6. The rights issue has assumed tremendous significance because live telecast of matches is mandatory as per international norms.
The cricket telecast rights war began in August, when Zee outbid established sport channel, ESPN-Star, to in-principle acquire the four-year rights to cricket matches in India between October 2004 and 2008. That triggered ESPN-Star to move Bombay High Court against the Indian cricket board.
Subsequently, BCCI cancelled the original tender, leading to another bout of legal tussle. Zee challenged BCCI’s move to cancel the tender. ESPN-Star was made a party to the case. The case is currently being heard in the Supreme Court.