Uncertainty over telecast rights is all set to postpone Pakistan’s much-awaited cricket tour to India. The working committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met here on Thursday, decided the series might be deferred by a week to 10 days.
The working committee could not take a decision on the telecast rights as a result of the stay imposed by the Madras High Court, restraining the BCCI from taking any decision on the matter.
Another issue that has resulted in postponing the tour was the last-minute change in the itinerary to include an additional one-day international match in Ahmedabad and the decision to move one Test match to Kolkata.
"The itinerary may have to be revised to include a sixth one-day international match. The working committee has decided that the tour may be deferred by seven to 10 days," Ranbir Singh Mahendra, president of the BCCI, said.
Advertisers have turned uneasy with the tour set to be postponed. The India-Pakistan series was being seen as a big platform for FMCG and consumer durable companies as it falls right at the beginning of the busy summer.
Said CVL Srinivas, managing director, Maxus, a Group M media buying house: "The lack of clarity is affecting the media plans of several companies and will also hit the marketing ability of the channel that gets the telecast rights. With the telecast decision further delayed by a week, the potential of the Indo-Pak series will be dented."
According to Sandeep Vij, president, OMS, Mudra's media buying arm, companies in India are getting used to last-minute buying of cricket spots.
"Selling spots on an Indo-Pak series is not difficult. Even the high-profile India-Australia series was sold at the eleventh hour," he said.
Interestingly, the working committee has also approved a proposal barring any person with financial or any other interest including sponsorships and telecast rights for cricket to be a member of BCCI or any cricket association affiliated with it.
This shuts the door for any broadcaster to join BCCI or any other cricket association.