TV rights: ICC slams govt regulation

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> ICC President has said the clause, which requires all cricket related to India to be shown on the national broadcaster, could be potentially devastating.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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ICC President Ehsan Mani has said the clause, which requires all cricket related to India to be shown on the national broadcaster, could be potentially devastating. The International Cricket Council chief says the move will certainly hit cash strapped cricket boards like Sri Lanka and West Indies. "It's a one-way traffic which is being proposed. The financial impact will be huge on our member countries and it will severely damage the viability of some of our members to develop the game," he adds. Ten Sports and ESPN-Star Sports have already taken the matter to court. Money factor Ten Sports, who are due to show India's tour of Pakistan in January 2006, are obviously hoping that they won't have to share footage of this series with DD. This was something they were forced to do last year after the intervention of the Supreme Court. But this issue is not just about the sports channels, it is more about cricketing revenues worldwide. TV rights constitute the bulk of money for any cricket board. For example, Ten Sports have paid approximately $50 million for the rights to show cricket in Sri Lanka for four years. It paid a huge premium to beat off the competition because the Sri Lankan cricket board assured them that India would play three times during the four-year period. However, the footage of any cricket match that India plays in Sri Lanka or elsewhere in the world will now have to be compulsorily shared with Doordarshan. That means Ten Sports' earlier calculations will go all wrong, as their footage is no longer exclusive. Thus, they will lose money from cable subscriptions and advertising. Ten Sports cannot back out of the $50 million deal with the Lankan board infact they will lose money and will therefore not be in any position to offer that same amount to renew the rights. Problems galore There are still no estimates on how much money the BCCI will lose because of this government regulation. The Indian TV rights are believed to be worth Rs 1,500 crore. And the BCCI is waiting to see the outcome of court cases before they issue the new tender for TV rights for the next four years. On their part, the ICC has stopped shy of taking any legal action for now. "We are not here to fight with the Indian government. We are here to explain to them the effect and the impact of their decision and we will take it on from there," says the ICC chief. So, problems galore for the ICC that is why the CEOs and cricket board chiefs from all over the world will be converging at Dubai on January 11 and do some troubleshooting.

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