Prasar Bharati extends soccer telecast deal with AIFF for another year for Rs 75 million

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati has extended by a year an agreement to telecast all football matches held under the aegis of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for Rs 75 million.

However, at the same time it has told AAFI and other sports bodies (except Board of Cricket Control in India) that in future all arrangements with Prasar Bharati for telecast of matches will done on a revenue sharing basis.

Sometime last month, AAFI's supremo politician Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had opened up talks with Star India for an agreement of telecast of matches on either Star Sports or ESPN.

"We have extended by an year the agreement with AAFI for about Rs 7.5 crore (Rs 75 million), but in future we will only do deals where DD will provide the platform and the revenue will have to be shared (between DD and the various sports bodies)," Prasar Bharati chief executive KS Sarma told on the sidelines of a monthly award ceremony (for best programme and graphic work) held in Delhi today. The awards have been introduced by DD recently to encourage in-house work.

According to Sarma, the revenue sharing model will be implemented where all other sports bodies of India are concerned and these include some 16 of them like federations for basketball, table tennis, hockey and volleyball.

The rationale behind doing this: DD is providing the sports bodies with a platform which has a huge reach and, hence, instead of DD paying for the telecast of the matches, the sports bodies should also share the revenue that accrues from telecast of such matches, Sarma explained.

Dasmunshi, the AAFI strongman and a politician with enough clout, had opened up talks with Star for telecast of football matches on either ESPN or Star Sports and, according to industry sources, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company was open to coughing up more money than Prasar Bharati.

"We are aware that AAFI was talking to ESPN and Star Sports, but ultimately decided to stick with us," Sarma admitted.

Sarma also pointed out that "a notice of sorts has been issued" to news agencies like Press trust of India (PTI) and the United News of India (UNI) that Prasar Bharati will not pay for their services beyond a three-year contract that has been signed.

Prasar Bharati has paid about Rs 116 million to both the news agencies to access their news feeds.

Explaining the rationale behind this move, Sarma said, "Beyond 2006 we would like to use the feedbacks and news that DD (and All India Radio) correspopndents give."

Sarma also said that even at present about 70 per cent of the DD news constitutes of news feeds from its correspondents and this should be encouraged.

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