Prasar Bharati still to tie up deal with WSG Nimbus for telecast of ICC Cricket tourneys

Pubcaster Prasar Bharati's board these days is seized with matters mostly related to telecast rights. If it is not football, then it must be cricket. A recent meeting of the board just did that - discuss the issue relating to the terrestrial rights of the ICC-organised cricket matches.

"Even the board meeting slated for early next month will discuss the cricket telecast issue as DD cannot simply afford to ignore the cricket matches in a cricket-crazy nation like ours," a senior Prasar Bharati official told on Thursday.

The telecast rights of the ICC-organised cricket matches for the next six years is held by World Sports Nimbus combine, a joint venture between World Sports and Mumbai-based Nimbus Communications, which sold the satellite rights for the India region to Sony Entertainment Television India for a reported sum of $255 million.

Admitting that DD, despite being the national broadcaster, is slowly getting edged out of the sports telecast scene in India in recent times, the official said: "Private channels can push through some decisions fast, but being remote-controlled by the government still, Prasar Bharati Corporation cannot take quick decisions where huge amounts of money are involved. We have to take into consideration not only economic factors, but political ones too."

DD has been in negotiations with World Sport Nimbus for the sale of terrestrial rights of the cricket matches, including the next two World Cups. But talks reportedly broke down as DD's offer did not find much favour with World Sport Nimbus negotiators, which included the joint venture's co-chairman and managing director of Nimbus Communication Harish Thawani.

When contacted, Thawani refused to either confirm or deny the report other than to say: "We do not discuss commercial negotiations that are in progress."

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