Television

Sony says pitching to get India rights for Cricket World Cup

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Looks like the common assumption that ESPN Star Sports will be airing the India telecast of next year's Cricket World Cup in South Africa may be proved presumptuous. And Sony Entertainment Television's MAX channel may yet have some cricket worth showcasing.

SET yesterday issued a release that it was in advanced negotiations with Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) & World Sport Nimbus (WSN) for acquiring the Indian television rights to broadcast a six-year package of ICC (International Cricket Council) cricket championships including the ICC Cricket World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

"GCC/WSN and SET are confident they will successfully conclude this transaction and hope to be in a position to make a formal announcement next month," the release says.

It may be recalled that the worldwide rights for television, Internet and sponsorship for a seven year period that includes the 2003 and 2007 cricket World Cups was won in mid-2000 by World Sports Group, along with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp through a joint bid. The combine won the rights for a minimum guarantee of $550 million after a fierce bidding war with Subhash Chandra's Zee Telefilms.

The GCC is a joint venture between WSG and News Corp and is managing the commercial programme for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.

The main question of course is what sum will SET chief executive Kunal Dasgupta be willing to pay to secure the rights.

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