No takers yet for Africa-Asia series telecast rights

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Former Indian cricket board chief and Asian Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya is finding it difficult to sell TV and sponsorship rights for the ambitious upcoming Africa vs Asia cricket series.

Contacted by Indiantelevision.com, Dalmiya hedged on the issue that some of the big sports broadcasters in the region have not shown interest in the cricket series due to various prior commitments.

Prodded, Dalmiya admitted no sponsorship or TV deal has been finalised. However, he added hopefully, “Talks are on and I’ll be able to say something with finality by the weekend.”

For the series of three one day internationals between Africa and Asia teams, due to take place mid-August, a body called the Afro-Asian Cricket Cooperation has been formed comprising the Africa Cricket Association and the Asian Cricket Council.

Why is Dalmiya, a past master at selling rights, finding it difficult this time round?

ESPN Star Sports is already committed to the Ashes series being played in England, which has a huge fan following all around the globe. ESS is following this series. Additionally, there are the Zimbabwe vs. New Zealand matches scheduled on the dates given for the Afro-Asian matches to be played in South Africa from 15 August.

As for rival Ten Sports, it is due to show India and Pakistan in action for the Rabobank hockey trophy. That leaves Zee Sports, Max and Doordarshan as possible candidates. While the first two are not keen, DD Sport’s limited footprint rules it out as an insignificant player.

According to information posted on the website of ACC, the Afro-Asian Cup ODIs will be bigger next year as such initiatives are aimed at focussing "attention on the needs of the young and emerging cricketers of Africa and Asia."

ACC is dubbing the series as 'three matches, one cause (and) a great result,' but for the moment the last is far from being realised.

The Asian Cricket Council was formed on 19 September 1983, which was then named as the Asian Cricket Conference. The aims and the objectives of the Conference were to organise, promote and develop the game of Cricket in Asia. Six countries - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore - were then the full members of the Conference. In 1995, the name of the organisation was changed to Asian Cricket Council and a few amendments were made to further enhance the activities. Today, ACC has a total of 20 member countries. Efforts are on to get China into the organisation as well.

Apart from the ACC Development Programme, the organisation generates additional funds through sponsorship deals and sale of television rights that are hawked during the tournaments like the Asia Cup, Asian Test Championship, ACC Trophy and Asian Cricket Junior Tournaments.

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