Television

WSG-Nimbus pockets Sri Lanks cricket rights

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The Emerald island is going to see a lot of Harish Thawani, the promoter of media firm Nimbus Communications. The reason: Thawani has in partnership with the World Sports Group bagged the rights for Sri Lankan cricket for the next three years. The deal covers 14 tours and would involve 180 days of international cricket, reveals Thawani, who has emerged as one of the most important players of the sports rights business over the past two years.

While he is unwilling to give any fix on the price that WSG-Nimbus put in to be the successful bidder for the rights, industry estimates are that they cost him close to $30 million. The other bidder TWI apparently was not willing to match the bid.

The bid covers global telecast (both radio and TV) , sponsorship and stadium signage rights. Sources indicate that the final tab that WSG-Nimbus may have to cough up could be in the range of $45 million. WSG-Nimbus is a 50:50 joint venture between the UK based WSG plc and India's Nimbus.

According to industry sources, WSG-Nimbus is likely to cut a deal with Zee Sports as the latter is quite hungry to grab quality cricket content, or whatever is left of it. News Corp has got the telecast rights to ICC backed cricket. And close associate, ESPN-Star Sports, has the rights to almost all the international cricket matches in Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, England, West Indies, Pakistan.The only other player with cricket rights is Mark Mascarenhas of World-Tel who apparently has not found too many takers for the Bangladesh cricket property he has acquired for some $12 million for four years.

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