Sports enthusiasts in parts of Delhi are likely to miss a lot of exciting sports action as ESPN and STAR Sports went off the air on the Hathway cable network. The cable service provider has not paid the routine monthly subscription fees to ESPN Software India since September 2004.
Furthermore, the annual service agreement between ESPN Software India and Hathway expired on November 30. “Despite numerous attempts and meetings, it is now apparent, judging from the demands being made by Hathway, that they are not serious about renewing the contract or showing our channels,” said Sricharan Iyengar, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, ESPN Software India.
ESPN–STAR Sports claim that they are left with no choice but to discontinue the services to Hathway, starting this evening till the outstanding amount is realised. If the matter is not resolved early enough by the cable operator, viewers may end up missing the India–Bangladesh series, Pakistan–Australia series, the ongoing English Premier League and Spanish League Football matches, and other sporting action, which ESPN–STAR Sports telecast on a daily basis.
On switching off the services, Iyengar said, “We feel helpless and upset as we are being forced to take this action. We have made best efforts to make sure that such situation does not arise but it is apparent that Hathway does not think in the same lines. We are limited in our actions and must take this extreme step because we must get paid for what we sell and that is precisely what Hathway is refusing to do. Considering that Hathway is doing this despite a clear agreement, we will be considering strong legal action if a solution does not arise soon.”
Iyengar lashed out at Hathway stating, “The consumer may protest by deducting the cost of the ESPN and Star Sports channels from their monthly cable bills. Trai has clearly mandated that in case any channel is not telecast, consumers cannot be charged for these channels. Accordingly, the consumers may deduct Rs 39.70, which is the cost of ESPN and STAR Sports, from their monthly cable payout to Hathway.”