Prasar Bharati, WSN reach agreement on terms for ICC cricket telecast

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati has agreed to accept a third-party guarantee for minimum revenue from Nimbus Communications Ltd for the ICC cricket matches to be telecast on national broadcaster Doordarshan.

Doordarshan has bagged the terrestrial telecast rights after negotiations with World Sport Nimbus, a joint venture between World Sport Group and Harish Thawani's Nimbus Communications.

Though some doubts were raised initially, the decision was taken because of the legal validity of a third party giving the bank guarantee and the top honchos of Prasar Bharati decided to accept the offer. After all a bank guarantee is a bank guarantee.

The guaranteed payout varies depending on whether the cricket match is classified as A, B or C. But the average MG works out to between Rs 9 and 10 million. The per match MG varies between a low of Rs 7.5 million to a high of 15 million.

As per the agreement that was signed, Nimbus Communications and not WSN will issue a bank guarantee to DD for their share of the revenues. The escrow account will be used and reciprocal jurisdiction will apply.

However, Prasar Bharati has referred a clause of the contract between it and WSN to the I&B ministry for an opinion.

The contract with WSN stipulates that in case of any arbitration, it will take place in London under the rules of ICC. Prasar Bharati has been insisting that any arbitration, if necessary, should be done under the Indian laws and as per the Arbitration Act of the country.

"We have sought the ministry's advise on the issue and whether Prasar Bharati should insist on its stand on arbitration in India as per Indian laws, or agree to the offer of having the arbitration settled in London under ICC rules and regulations," a senior Prasar Bharati official said. The advise from I&B ministry is still awaited.

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