While Zee Telefilms, ESPN-Star Sports and state-owned Prasar Bharti slug it out for rights to telecast cricket matches organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the all-powerful board is planning to launch a 24-hour cricket channel of its own.
The proposed channel will be run by a company owned by the board and will telecast the matches organised by it.
The channel will also bid for matches organised by other cricket boards around the world. It will also look at business opportunities in radio broadcasting, Internet and other emerging sectors.
A proposal to this effect has been presented to the cricket board’s working committee, which is expected to approve the proposal in its next meeting slated to be held soon.
Reacting to the board’s plans, leading sports channels are not too sure of its success. “It is true that cricket is what really sells in India, but running an exclusive cricket channel is not a viable proposition,” said an executive with a channel.
Others pointed out that international cricket was played in India for only 35-40 days a year.
“The exclusive cricket channel by BCCI will have to telecast domestic cricket matches, which do not generate advertisement revenue, for the remaining 300-plus days,” an industry source said.
The board, however, has its plans in place: it proposes to increase the number of international cricket matches played in India substantially over the next few years.
According to a study commissioned by the cricket board, the proposed channel has the potential to rake in revenue of Rs 2,189.9 crore in the very first year of its operation. The projected revenue will go up to Rs 4,781.9 crore in the fifth year, the study says.
It is also projected that the first year of operation will cost the board Rs 710.2 crore only and in the fifth year the expenses will go up to Rs 1,161 crore.
“The channel will have a great business potential considering the fact that most sports channels operating in India generate about 80 per cent of their revenue from cricket,” said Lalit Modi, president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association and one of the proponents of the move.
New ball game
The proposed channel will be run by a company owned by it
The channel will telecast the matches organised by it and will also bid for matches organised by other cricket boards
What channels feel:
International cricket is played only for 30-40 days in a year; telecasting domestic cricket is not lucrative
The board sees a revenue potential of Rs 2,190 crore in the very first year of the channel’s operation, which can go up to Rs 4,782 crore in five years