DD: Lobbed out of Wimbeldon this year?

Doordarshan's run of bad luck continues where sporting events are concerned. The latest is that India's pubcaster has been served out of Wimbledon, the tennis extravaganza which is currently going on in England. 

Doordarshan director-general S.Y. Quraishi admitted to, "We won't be airing, deferred or otherwise, any Wimbledon matches this year as negotiations have failed." However, he refused to comment any further on the Wimbledon issue.

The failure to secure Wimbeldon telecast rights, even on a terrestrial basis, comes close on the heels of DD having to do with a six-hour delayed telecast of the FIFA World Cup soccer matches and tough negotiations for the terrestrial rights of the ICC-organised cricket matches, the satellite rights of which have been bought for six years by Sony Entertainment.

Until last year, DD used to telecast matches live from the semi-finals onward. "We were negotiating with the Wimbledon authorities, but the price which had been quoted was on the higher side of Rs 50 million," another senior official of DD pointed out, hinting that the telecast rights fee proved to be too high for DD.

The DD official also pointed out that another stumbling block in securing the telecast rights of Wimbledon was their understanding that ESPN-Star Sports had secured both the satellite and terrestrial TV rights of Wimbledon for the region which had blocked out DD's plea that it was a terrestrial broadcaster. 

However, the DD official could not say whether they would like to negotiate with ESPN-Star Sports for semi-final matches onwards. "We have not thought on these lines," the official added. 

An ESPN-Star Sports spokesperson clarified on the rights issue saying that, "we only have the exclusive satellite TV telecast rights for Wimbledon. The terrestrial rights are not with us. If anyone wants to buy those, they can approach either the rights holder or the marketing agent or the Wimbledon authorities."

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