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Talks with Ten Sports fail — DD may not play Indo-Pak cricket

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 12

THERE is a question mark surrounding the Indo-Pak series as well as over national broadcaster Doordarshan getting the terrestrial rights to the series.

Talks between officials of Prasar Bharati and Ten Sports have not been fruitful with the latter not willing to share its rights with the former. However, All India Radio (AIR) has managed to bag the radio rights for the series.

Sources in Prasar Bharati said that Ten Sports had sold the cricket series to its advertisers on the premise that this was "exclusive" to the channel and hence could not share the feed with any other broadcaster. "Our efforts will continue," officials said. Doordarshan may eventually have to settle for a highlights package from Ten Sports.

On the radio front too Ten Sports had bagged the rights, which has been offered to AIR. AIR had earlier bid for the rights at $25,000, but lost out as it was not the highest bidder. Sources said that AIR has now got the radio rights from Ten Sports for a similar amount.

Early this week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had asked Prasar Bharati to negotiate the rights directly with Ten Sports as the bids would not be reopened. Prasar Bharati's contention has been that with terrestrial rights being given to (Pakistan's state-run channel) PTV to telecast the series live in Pakistan, DD should also be accorded the same.

Meanwhile, agency reports suggest that the Home Ministry has favoured rescheduling the tour of Pakistan till after the Lok Sabha elections. India is scheduled to play three Tests and five one-day internationals besides a three-day warm up match on their first full-fledged tour of Pakistan. The tour was to take off after 14 years and was to commence from March 11.

If the tour does not happen, Ten Sports could stand to lose over Rs 400 crore in advertising. The channel had managed to sell its ads at a whopping $3,000 for 10-second spots and had managed to rope in big advertisers. Corporates such as Samsung which is the title sponsor, Bajaj -- presenting sponsor, LG, Glaxo Smithkline, IOC, Hutch, Hero Honda and Maruti (who are associate sponsors) have invested heavily in the series.

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