India-Pakistan cricket telecast hopes are still alive for public broadcaster Doordarshan. After his meeting with a sacked official of the Pakistan Cricket Board a few days ago to negotiate the TV rights deal for the series, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma sent a letter to the PCB on Monday. Mr Sarma’s plea in the letter: Allow DD the terrestrial rights to cover the India-Pakistan cricket series slated for next month. And, allow it live!
PCB chief executive Rameez Raja has already assured Mr Sarma that he would speak to Ten Sports on the issue, according to the Prasar Bharati CEO. Dubai-based Ten Sports holds the satellite TV rights to the India-Pakistan cricket series, but latecomer DD wants to show it live as well.
The increasingly improving good relations between India and Pakistan is the reason behind Prasar Bharati’s interest in getting the telecast rights to the series, claimed Mr Sarma. The penetration level of Ten Sports is much lower than that of DD, and therefore the demand in “national interest,” according to him.
Interestingly, now DD is requesting for live terrestrial telecast rights to the series. Earlier, it was asking for deferred telecast only. And the commercial terms and conditions? That is yet to be decided, said the Prasar Bharati chief. But, it could be similar to the deal worked out between Sony Entertainment Television and DD at the time of the World Cup, he indicated.
All this, when a BCCI team is in Pakistan to inspect the security arrangements for the forthcoming series. Also, some top Indian cricketers have expressed their security concerns about going to Pakistan to play the series. Surprisingly, a few days ago, Mr Sarma had met the former PCB marketing director, who was sacked recently, to negotiate the deal!