In a surprising development, Nimbus Communications Ltd on February 25 signed a deal with Sahara One Television for the broadcast rights of the India-England cricket series starting March 1, 2006, consisting of three Tests and seven ODIs. Nimbus is the global media rights partner for Indian cricket till March 2010.
Shailendra Singh, Head of Sahara One Media And Entertainment Ltd, said, “We are delighted to partner with Nimbus and Indian cricket in this new strategic initiative to take Indian cricket to the next level. Sahara India Pariwar has deep commitment to cricket and we are sure that our massive reach in cable homes will ensure that this exciting series achieves record-breaking ratings.”
Sahara One Television shall telecast all matches live. Given that Sahara One is free-to-air, it also ensures that there are no cable blackouts of the channel as is the case often with sports channels trying to extract pay TV revenues.
Commenting on the deal, Akash Khurana, MD & CEO, Nimbus, said, “Our choice of the Sahara One platform was dictated by the fact that the channel has near 100 per cent distribution in cable homes compared to sports channels, which barely reach 50 per cent of cable homes; and by Sahara India Pariwar’s amazing commitment and vision for cricket.”
Nimbus will exclusively market the commercial airtime during the series on Sahara One. The arrangement between Nimbus and Sahara contemplates a win-win upside sharing beyond specified revenue thresholds.
In addition to Sahara One’s live broadcast and wraparound programming, the Sahara One Network shall produce unilaterals that shall be aired exclusively on Sahara Filmy and Sahara News, focusing on the glamour events and behind-the-scenes action, respectively, around this series.
Late on February 24, Nimbus also signed an agreement with Doordarshan to broadcast all matches (Tests as well as ODIs) of England’s tour of India, 2006. The first Test commences on March 1.
As per the agreement, DD will telecast all the matches on DD National network, while Nimbus will retain 75 per cent of all revenues towards rights fees. The world feed (live coverage) shall be provided to DD by Nimbus Sport, the BCCI appointed producer.
Commenting on the deal, Raju Udupa, Vice-President, Media Solutions, said, “We are pleased to extend our association with DD with this landmark deal. This 10-match series is perhaps the biggest cricket series to be staged in India in a very long time. We believe it will break new ratings records.”