Just how big the World Cup is can be gauged from the benefit the
previous rights holder Ten Sports got in 2002. The event had served
as a launching pad for the Bukhatir owned broadcaster giving it
distribution across the country.
One issue that will crop up is Doordarshan's insistence on it being
given the feed for events of "national importance". Last
year both ESS (Bangladesh tour) and Ten Sports (Pakistan tour) suffered
as a result though it was cricket that was in play. While Ten was
forced to give its feed to DD for India's historic tour of Pakistan
in March, ESS faced the music when India toured Bangladesh in December.
Asked to comment on this, ESS India MD RC Venkateish said he was
awaiting the Supreme Court's verdict on the matter where Ten Sports'
appeal is also pending. "We are hopeful that our interests
will be safeguarded. We will also seek the cooperation of the local
police in case our signal is stolen by cable operators during the
World Cup," Venkateish opined.
"One thing that cable operators are realising is that ESS
is not about one or two big events. So this year regardless of the
fate of the India cricket rights I do not expect to face any problems
on the ground," Venkateish asserted. It may be recalled that
in 2002 Ten Sports had taken stringent action against erring cable
operators who attempted to steal its signal for the World Cup.
On a more positive note Venkateish said that in the lead up to
the World Cup the channel will come out with a host of specials.
These will focus on the key players as well as how the teams are
preparing. "This latest acquisition means that more than 25
million households in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Sri Lanka, Maldives,
Nepal and Bhutan will watch our coverage of the event. We will have
English and Hindi commentary, daily pre-shows during match days,
a daily review show as well as special lead-up programming.
"The surge in ratings for the telecast of the Euro 2004 in
the Indian market clearly shows the growing popularity of soccer
in India. Our investment in localising our content and adding Hindi
commentary definitely added further in increasing the penetration
for the game resulting in an increase in TRPs."
On the marketing front one can expect roadshows as well as the
different media to be used to get the message across to football
A mad rush for tickets: Meanwhile tickets for the World
Cup went on sale yesterday over the internet. However, fans in Britain
were angry that the only credit card they can use to buy them is
A spokesman for Fifa said: "It’s true that Mastercard is the
exclusive card at this stage of the process, but no objection has
been raised by the European Commission and there are other payment
"Every customer throughout the world has two months to place
his or her order for tickets. All the orders will be registered
and if there is a surplus of demand, a draw will be made. There
has never been a more transparent or fairer approach to sale of
tickets for such an event."
Applications for tickets came from 108 countries including Burkina
Faso and Macao, although the vast majority -- around 80 per cent
-- were from within Germany. Not surprisingly demand for the final
match on 9 July 2006 is the highest. The overall demand is also
high despite the fact that Germany is still the only nation to be
certain of qualifying for the 32-team event.