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    February 02, 2007

    No more bidding for broadcast rights in Indian cricket

    I've written about this far too often. The decision by the Indian government to force owners of broadcast rights into sharing their live feed, sans advertising, with Prasar Bharati, is ridiculous, at a minimum. The extra reach that Doordarshan provides should have been motivation enough for them to bid for the rights. That they haven't won a single time (assuming they've placed bids when the tender process was initiated) indicates that the reach is meaningless when they cannot come up with a competitive bid. The government's decision thus rewards the lethargy of the executives at Prasar Bharati.

    I don't think a cricket series is an event of national importance. In fact, I think we over-emphasize sporting achievement. Hypothetically, a win by an Indian golfer at a golf major (which I'd never watch anyway) or an Indian chess player at the World Championship or a tennis Grand Slam tournament win by an Indian rate much higher in my list than a one-day series between teams ranked 5 and 6 in a form of the game where realistically speaking, there're only 9 teams ranging from excellent to 'sort of ok'.

    If I was one of those who wanted to bid for the TV rights in 2010, when they're up for grabs again and if I was going to be forced into sharing the feed, I wouldn't bother to. If the Indian government was so interested in an altruistic goal of allowing every Indian to see cricket on TV, they wouldn't be talking about a feed sans advertisements and a 75-25 revenue sharing (in favour of the original rights owner, thankfully!). Doordarshan has no business selling advertising slots during the games and making money.

    I hope someone (Nimbus, who've paid USD 612 million for four years of rights) takes the judicial route and challenges the government's ordinance, and wins. I don't mind not being able to watch if the government loses. This isn't about watching the series. It is about protesting against ridiculous policies which stifle private enterprise, discourage competition and entrepreneurship. It's about preventing the nationalisation of cricket, like Nitin writes. It's perhaps also about making money out of what you don't own, like Harsha Bhogle writes.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:10 PM |
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    3 sledge(s):

    Does the Indian government have an equivalent to the DCMS's Listed Events?

    This ensures that certain sporting events are always either live on terrestrial TV, or at the very least, highlights are available.

    More information here.

    By Blogger Geoff (03-Feb-2007, 5:39:00 AM)  

    golf win better then a cricket win really? a tennis win yes, football sure but golf? do people watch golf?

    cricket might have only 9 test teams but doesn't make it less competitive. Take football for instance its played all over the world, but u can pick 12 teams who are really good at it rest so and so.when it comes to club level there are just abt 5 european leagues which are competitive.

    but still golf win ranked better then a cricket win ridiculous!

    By Blogger pamthree (05-Feb-2007, 10:53:00 AM)  

    geoff: I think the government was to have come up with the list. I suppose they kept postponing it. Interestingly, they only wake up when there's a home series coming up. Then they depend on threatening the rights holders with a law/ordinance. Then the courts step in. If the government was serious about it, they'd have ensured a law was in place BEFORE Nimbus got the rights last year!

    pamthree: An Indian winning a golf major is higher on my ranking than the India-Sri Lanka series. That's what I said. I didn't extrapolate it saying that I'd prefer a golf tournament win over a test series win in Australia or a World Cup win.

    By Blogger Jagadish (06-Feb-2007, 12:55:00 PM)  

    We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. However, the moderators reserve the right to delete comments, especially those containing offensive or unsuitable language. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own cricket blog, but the moderators reserve the right to delete comments which only reference sites for viewing live streams.

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