Sky and Indian Cricket in Commentary Dispute
For the first time since the 1990s, Sky will be unable to provide live commentary of an England test tour. A dispute between Sky and the BBC, on one side, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India has come to a stalemate.
England’s test series against India begins on November 15.
The BCCI has demanded an additional £500,000 from Sky and £50,000 from the BBC, for Test Match Special, on top of the rights fees already paid for the tour.
No other board has ever asked for additional fees to provide commentary positions. And both the BBC and Sky feel the rights fees covered the provision of such facilities.
The dispute has arisen because, for the first time ever, the BCCI holds the production rights for the coverage of their home test matches.
Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, met with N Srinivasan, the chairman of the Indian board, in an effort to try to solve the issue of the unprecedented additional fees. Those talks have proved unfruitful.
Because the BCCI retains so called production rights - which some see as a blatant effort to exert control over the coverage of cricket in India - they have made this unprecedented demand for additional money.
It’s the first time in twenty years that British commentary of an England tour will not be provided from within the stadiums.
Sky and the BBC have signed sub-licencee agreements with Star TV. The Indian broadcaster is the owner of "global media rights”.
It is an odd arrangement, even if Cricket South Africa have a similar set up with broadcaster SuperSport. But CSA have never asked for additional production fees outwith the already agreed rights fees.
Sky and the BBC have been forced not to buckle to the demands. It sets a dangerous precedent for future negotiations with domestic cricket authorities around the world.
Sky will provide coverage from their headquarters in Isleworth. With the domestic commentary of Star TV provided on the red button. Though with the BCCI’s control of home production amounting to censorship, it is unclear why anyone would wish to avail themselves of that commentary.
The BCCI’s decision not to use the Decision Review System, among other controversial issues, likely won’t be discussed on the Star TV commentary. The board made a profit of £44 million last year; so money may not be the only issue at play in the financial powerhouse of the modern game.
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