ESS, DD heading for a face-off; BCCI upset

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Even as ESPN Star Sports has asked Prasar Bharati to honour sharing clauses on cricket, the Indian Cricket Board is upset with the pubcaster's stand.

ESS has asked Prasar Bharati to supply it with highlight packages if DD bagged the telecast rights for Indian cricket. The pubcaster is yet to revert on this.

According to ESPN India MD RC Ventakateish, as per the memorandum of understanding signed between ESS and Prasar Bharati, the latter would have to provide highlight packages if it caught the telecast rights.

The MoU, signed last year, also envisages that ESS would have to share with Doordarshan, controlled by Prasar Bharati, the terrestrial feed and a highlight package if ESS had the rights for Indian cricket.

"We would like to exhaust all options for amicable solutions before taking a legal recourse," Ventakateish added.

The pubcaster was, however, having none of it, asserting that there was "no question" of acceding to ESS demands.

Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma was quoted in media reports as saying, "My agreement with ESS is applicable only in case of either of us bagging four-year telecast rights. Presently this is a temporary arrangement under an interim order and we are not obliged to provide them one-hour telecast packages."

Meanwhile, BCCI is upset with Prasar Bharati's interpretation of

the Madras High Court order. Prasar Bharati has interpreted the order as having the rights to market the series on its own, if broadcast on a terristal network.

A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told, "We are puzzled at the interpretation of the court order by Prasar Bharati, which relates to marketing."

Prasar Bharati's contention is that the order does not say anything whether DD can market on its own the matches to be telecast on its terrestrial network.

Madaras High Court in an interim order on a petition filed by Zee Telefilms had observed that Doordarshan would telecast Indo Pak series, while giving BCCI the rights to produce and market the series.

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