Prasar Bharati to net Rs 1.5 billion from SL, SA ODIs

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: An optimistic Prasar Bharati says that it would end up netting revenues to the tune of Rs. 1.5 billion from the one-day series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

"We are optimistic on the revenue front, which should cross the Rs. 1.5 billion mark for the one-day cricket series," according to Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma. Prasar Bharati manages Doordarshan and All India Radio.

DD has the telecast rights for the ongoing one-day cricket series against Lanka and the forthcoming one against South Africa as an interim measure due to court cases that bar the Indian cricket board from handing out rights to other broadcasters till the case is settled. The latest case pending in Delhi High Court has been initiated by Zee Telefilms.

"Sarma, however, added that the pubcaster has not received any communication from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the Test matches to be played against Lanka and South Africa.

"We had asked BCCI to give us the Test rights too so they can be packaged for ad sales, but we haven't heard anything from the other side yet," Sarma added.

With Team India starting to rise from its moribund status and putting out some sterling performances against the Lankans on the cricket field, the sponsorship and advertising market has started looking up again.

An indicator of this is the sponsorship deals being mulled by corporate houses involving wicketkeeper-cum-blaster batsman MS Dhoni and other youngsters over the past one week.

The pubcaster, however, hedged on the fact whether DD proposes to hike up its ad rates for the remaining one-dayers against the Lankans and for the Test series. "We'll have to study the issue before doing anything very drastic on the ad sales front," another senior official of DD said.

Though Prasar Bharati is jubilant that proposed government legislation would give it access to all major sports events irrespective of the fact who bags the telecast rights, it cannot force BCCI or private broadcasters' hands till the time new media norms are notified formally.

Prasar Bharati is charging Rs 2,50,000 for a ten-second slot on DD Sports while the DD1 slot carries a price tag of Rs 2,00,000. It has netted Rs 130 million from presenting sponsorship deals and Rs 80 million from associate sponsorship. The pubcaster had roped in Hero Honda, Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) and BSNL as the presenting sponsors while the associate sponsors are ICICI Bank, Coco Cola, Maruti and Castrol.

According to government sources, the new media norms, termed stringent by the industry, are likely to be formalized anytime now.

A senior I&B ministry official said today, which is a public holiday because of Eid, "Mandatory sharing of sports events with DD is likely to be made effective very soon and would be notified certainly before the Parliament reconvenes for the Winter session on 23 November."

Industry observers feel that the way things are moving on the legal and government front, in all likelihood DD would end up getting the rights for the full home series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

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