Sri Lankan board signs 4-year TV rights deal

MUMBAI: The deal is done but who's the rights holder? The Sri Lanka cricket board has said the international television rights for cricket on the Emerald Isles, which opened up at the end of the recently concluded series clash against Australia, has been sold.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Mohan de Silva has been quoted as saying a lucrative television deal has been signed with "a broadcasting company" for the next four years.

Though no figures are being given out, de Silva was quoted in media reports as terming the amount involved in the deal as an "unbelievable figure" during a press conference at the board headquarters in Colombo recently.

According to de Silva, the SLC is meeting on Monday to send out bid documents to prospective television companies to try and match the amount which "the existing broadcasting company" had quoted. "We had difficulty in attracting television rights last year," de Silva said, "because of the instability and the adverse publicity that was levelled against SLC. After I assumed office as president one of my priorities was to redeem the image of SLC and re-establish its credibility."

Domestic broadcasting rights are currently held by Ruphavahini (television) and SLBC Broadcasting (radio). International television rights were with Ten Sports until the end of Australia's tour of Sri Lanka.

As to the unnamed rights holder, de Silva may well have given a hint of it when he referred to the "existing broadcast company". If that is to be taken as meaning the existing rights holder, that would indicate Ten Sports has won the rights. When contacted for an official reaction, Ten Sports India head Sharmishta Rijhwani said the company no comment to offer on the matter.

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