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DD lukewarm on Indo-Pak series

23-December-2004
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DD lukewarm on Indo-Pak series

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is treading carefully when it comes to handling cricket telecast rights. With only Rs 18 crore coming into its kitty from the recent home Test series against Australia and South Africa and a friendly one-dayer against Pakistan, the pubcaster is ensuring sound business from the forthcoming Indo-Pak matches.

Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma is learnt to have made it amply clear to the patron-in-chief and former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Even as the BCCI is pursuing the pubcaster to explore the option of telecasting the Indo-Pak series on Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati is asking the Board for match dates first. “We won’t know our opportunity cost without the dates,” Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma told FE. The pubcaster’s stand so far: Prasar Bharati cannot offer a bid, unless the cricket board firms up the dates.

When contacted, a BCCI spokesperson was unable to give a deadline for finalising the dates for the Indo-Pak series. Tentatively, the series is scheduled to begin from February 25. The series would include three Test matches and five one-dayers.

Earlier, Mr Sarma had indicated that DD would like to have exclusive telecast rights to the Indo-Pak series.

In the case of the recent Test series against Australia and South Africa, and ODI against Pakistan, Dubai-based Ten Sports was responsible for production of the matches, while DD showed them in India. Sony Entertainment Television had the overseas telecast rights.

As the five-year BCCI telecast rights issue is still sub judice, an interim arrangement may have to be worked out for the Indo-Pak series.

For the recent home Test series against Australia and South Africa and ODI against Pakistan, the Supreme Court had allowed an interim telecast arrangement, citing international norms.

While the total earnings of Prasar Bharati were around Rs 100 crore for two Test series and an ODI, it had to pay Rs 82 crore to BCCI as rights fee. Besides the low profit margin of only Rs 18 crore, sources at Prasar Bharati indicated that there was an opportunity cost attached to the deal also.

As other programmes are cancelled and rescheduled to accommodate cricket matches, there could be a loss of advertising revenue, they added.So, the pubcaster is taking a different view this time around.

HC: Telecast one-dayers

Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed Doordarshan to telecast the one-day cricket series between India and Bangladesh beginning at Chittagong on Thursday. The division bench comprising Chief Justice B Subashan Reddy and Justice Kurian Joseph, in an interim order, directed ESPN to share the revenue at the ratio of 80:20 tentatively and subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the apex court in the pending cases.

The bench also made it clear that DD should exhibit the logo of ESPN.and advertisements which ESPN has committed for the one-day series.

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