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Sports cable spat headed for courts

13-December-2004
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Sports cable spat headed for courts

The commercial dispute between ESPN-Star Sports and the Kolkata cable TV distribution network companies seems headed for the courts of law on Monday, according to R C Venkatesh, managing director of the Indian operations of the sports channel.

"ESPN-Star Sports is being pushed to explore all avenues to recover its dues from the cable operator following detection early to Sunday morning that our signal was reaching a lot of subscribers though ESPN-Star had not switched on the signal.

This situation has never happened in the country before and there is no option left but to take all necessary steps to recover dues from cable operators while maintaining the safety of the signal", he said late on Sunday evening.

Cable operators could not be contacted owing to the late hour.

Venkatesh said the matter had been reported to the authorities but this had not led to any improvement in the situation. "ESPN is ready to settle the issue amicably, without any payment and only on acceptance of its dues in writing", he said.

The sports signal had become a sensitive issue as India was playing a cricket test match in Dhaka and there was very high consumer interest in the telecast.

Kolkata Police officers had been mediating between the sports channel and cable network for resumption of the signal but a settlement had reportedly proved elusive.

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