Television rights for the Indo-Pak series, to be played in Pakistan in March, is under spotlight once again. Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma has met an official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to work out the modalities of beaming the matches, perhaps in deferred telecast, on Doordarshan.
In the backdrop of speculation in cricketing circles that top three players are not keen on going to Pakistan citing security reasons, Prasar Bharati is talking about telecasting the matches on DD in “national interest”. The Dubai-based Ten Sports has the exclusive rights to the series, but DD wants to keep the Indo-Pak goodwill going by telecasting the series.
Mr Sarma met the PCB marketing director here on Friday to discuss the subject. Mr Sarma say the upbeat mood in Indo-Pak relations would get a boost if DD shows the series.
Mr Sarma has the government backing on this. A senior government official said even the Communications Convergence Bill has a provision for allowing the public broadcaster to beam “events of national importance”, despite the norms of commercial deals. The official, however, added it’s not clear whether the series could be termed as national importance. Also, the Convergence Bill is in the backburner right now.
Mr Sarma had earlier spoken to PCB chief executive Rameez Raja to discuss the issue. Ten Sports was allowing DD to just show highlights of the matches, and not a deferred telecast as demanded by DD.
Mr Sarma is hopeful of a solution within a week. Meanwhile, the state-run Pakistan TV is likely to get the signals for the matches, even though the rights are with Ten Sports. So, will the Prime Minister’s Office intervene in getting the TV rights to the series for DD? “That’s only a speculation,” Mr Sarma added.