Prasar Bharati makes a fresh proposal to ESPN

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:A day before Madras High Court holds hearing of the telecast row over upcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has made a new proposal to sports broadcaster ESPN Star for a jointarrangement.

Prasar Bharati, which already has an arrangement with ESPN Star for terrestrial telecast rights for One-day matches, is seeking to widen this by including Test matches as well, official sources said.

The move comes even as the public broadcaster intends to make a bid to bag the rights on an individual basis, the official said.

As per the present arrangement with ESPN Star, Prasar Bharati would get a minimum guarantee of Rs one crore for a One-day match while sharing everything above this on a 70:30 ratio, the big pie in favour of ESPN Star. For Tests, currently it is limited to match highlights only, the pricebeing Rs five lakh for an hour.

"The empowered committee of Prasar Bharati, which held an exhaustive meeting last night in presence of senior officials from the information and broadcasting ministry, felt that Test matches also need to be shown on the national channel.

"For this, a new proposal has been sent to ESPN Star where a minimum guarantee of Rs 1.5 crore per Test, and a 70:30 arrangement above that, has been asked," the sources said.

Prasar Bharati is in a position of advantage in any case as it has been emphasised time and again, after appeals in court, that sharing of terrestrial rights with the public broadcaster is a must for Indian team's matches.

Moreover, it has also benefited from the spat between Zee, ESPN Star and BCCI on long-term rights. As the three fought in court last year, Prasar Bharati managed to grab 31 days of telecast rights that involved Test matches against Australia and South Africa and a One-day against Pakistan.

On February 9, Madras High Court had directed the BCCI not to finalise any tender or contract to telecast upcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, till February 17.

The Court posted a petition filed by Zee Telefilms challenging the BCCI's last year's decision withdrawing the telecast rights for all matches to be held in the country for the next four years, for hearing on this day.

In a counter affidavit, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday told the court that it cannot be compelled to have dealings with anyone in connection with telecasting of cricket matches in thecountry.

The Pakistan cricket team starts its tour of India later this month and is slated to play three Test and five One-day matches.

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