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ACC hopes to seal Asia Cup sponsors by week's end

MUMBAI: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which last Wednesday formalised a deal with Sri Lanka to host the six-nation Asian Cup, has said it hopes to finalise television rights and sponsors by the end of the week.

Sri Lankan media reports have quoted Indian cricket board chief and senior ACC official Jagmohan Dalmiya as saying they were hoping to offer the tournament, due to run from 16 July to 1 August, as a “one-off” to sponsors.

 

The last Asian Cup was held four years ago. “It is possible and we are looking at how we can get time slots to have the tournament every two years,” Dalmiya told reporters in Colombo after talks last week with Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. The ACC aims to stage the Asia Cup every two years and accordingly to have longer-term sponsorship deals for future tournaments.

Queried over the weekend as to whether he would be bidding, SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta said Sony had not been approached but if approached would bid.

According to the information available with indiantelevision.com, Ten Sports as well as ESPN Star Sports would also be bidding for the telecast rights.

A sore point of course would be on the exclusivity part of the deal. With all the problems that "exclusive" rights holder Ten Sports had vis-a-vis national broadcaster Doordarshan awaiting the Supreme court's verdict, it would be expected that all three bidders would use that as a negotiating ploy with which to bring down the rights costs.

Sources close to the developments say DD has already written to the ACC expressing their interest in the rights. In the light of this the Asia Cup might well prove a test case as to how future tournaments involving India play out on the telecast bidding front.

Interestingly, ESPN Star Sports, on its publicity material issued at the start of the year, had mentioned the Asia Cup as one of the tournaments on its roster where India would be participating.

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