Television

News Corp takes financial charge of global rights for ICC cricket

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When Sony Entertainment announced that it had bought the India cable and satellite cricket telecast rights for the International Cricket Council's tournaments until 2007, including the 2003 and 2007 cricket World Cups, from rights distributor Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), it raised quite a few eyebrows. The reason: with a reported $ 255 million price tag, the deal was seen as being a pretty tough one for Sony in terms of returns on investment.

Well the Sony purchase might well be the only deal the GCC has negotiated that has found favour with Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation. Reports are that News Corp has taken full financial control of the ICC rights because "the GCC failed to meet targets set".

GCC, formerly a 50:50 joint venture between News Corp and World Sport Nimbus (WSN), in turn a joint venture between World Sport Group and Harish Thawani's Nimbus Communications, is now fully in Murdoch's control, reports say.

News Corp bought out WSN for what an Australian newspaper has described as a nominal sum. WSN will continue to act as a marketing agent for the World Cups, but on a commission-only basis, reports say. The GCC has guaranteed the ICC $550 million for its rights but at the moment only four of a planned 12 major sponsorships for next year's World Cup have been sold, The Sunday Times reports. 

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