The Indian team is playing no international cricket at the moment, top stars are playing in the prestigious Duleep Trophy and yet you can’t watch it on television. Wonder why? It seems that there’s little appetite to broadcast domestic cricket, with costs being high and revenues elusive.
Even as South Zone take on Central in Banglore the BCCI has written to production house Nimbus, and is awaiting an answer. “We have got permission for (satellite) uplink,” BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told HT. “We have written to them (Nimbus) asking that all Duleep matches be telecast live. We are awaiting a reply.”
Despite having all paraphernalia in place at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Nimbus Sports International is only producing the match for BCCI, not telecasting it live.
“There are two different branches in Nimbus, Nimbus Sports International and Nimbus Communication. The BCCI has separate contracts with us for producing the matches and with Nimbus Communication for telecasting them,” explained James Rego, Vice-President, Nimbus Sports International. “We have nothing to do with the telecasting part of it. If they (telecasters) come with the satellite dish to the venue, we give them the signal and our role ends there,” said Rego.
Asked why the match was not being telecast live, Abhishek Verma, head, Marketing and Communications, Neo Sports, said, “In agreement with the BCCI we select the matches to telecast live. We also have to look at production costs and the revenue generated by telecasting a match.”
Verma said that since they had bagged the rights for the forthcoming India-Sri Lanka series there was uncertainty over the live telecast of the remaining Duleep matches. “We are still working out the schedule for Duleep. Having bagged the Lanka series rights on Wednesday, the entire schedule has been thrown out of gear,” said Verma.
While Neo have been advertising the live broadcast of the Duleep final (Feb 5 to 9) sources suggest that even this may not happen as it clashes with the Lanka series, ending on February 10.
Can’t Neo Sports channel telecast live domestic cricket while international cricket could be on Neo Cricket? “No,” said Verma. “We have decided that they are two separate channels, Neo Sports being fully non-cricket and Neo Cricket, a cricket-only channel.”
During Ranji Trophy, Neo Cricket showed live one quarterfinal (Tamil Nadu vs Bengal), a semifinal (Mumbai vs Saurashtra) and the final (Mumbai vs Uttar Pradesh) while some of the league matches were only produced and not aired. “It is part of our commitment and deal with the BCCI to telecast live domestic matches. There is no figure as to the number of days of cricket that have to be telecast live,” said Verma.