March 8, 2002

Non-telecast of Asian Test Championship Final

The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka wishes to clarify incorrect reports that it is responsible for the Sri Lanka versus Pakistan Asian Test Championship Final being played in Lahore, Pakistan, not being telecast in Sri Lanka.

The BCCSL has never contracted to televise overseas matches to local audiences, as this is an area handled by television companies, and not by the governing body of a sport. It is the responsibility of the BCCSL to use its finances solely for the development of cricket in Sri Lanka.

Contracts for telecasting overseas matches locally are reached directly between the international telecaster and any television station in Sri Lanka that is interested in purchasing the telecast rights.

In this instance, the BCCSL attempted to facilitate matters by putting the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, and MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd in touch with Trans World International, the international telecaster. However, both Rupavahini and MTV were of the view that the royalty fee of US $ 20,000 requested by TWI, plus any satellite uplink costs were too high, and they would be unable to find sufficient revenue to cover the expense. The stations cited the reluctance of sponsors, due to the prevailing 5-hour power cuts reducing the effectiveness of advertising.

The BCCSL even intervened to assist the TV stations by requesting that the royalty fee be reduced. Neither Rupavahini nor MTV at any time requested financial assistance in this regard.

In any case, it has never been the practice of the BCCSL to subsidize the operations of telecasters.

Upon being informed of the situation, the BCCSL began pursuing the possibility of obtaining the highlights of the match with the assistance of the Pakistan Cricket Board, since the highlight package is likely to be less expensive for a local television station than a live telecast.

Contrary to reports, this is not the first time that Sri Lankan viewers have not enjoyed live telecasts of Sri Lanka's matches abroad. Sri Lanka's tour of the West Indies in 1996 (a single one-day-international), and Sri Lanka's tour of the West Indies in 1998 (two Tests and three one-day-internationals), are among the foreign tours that were not telecast in Sri Lanka.

However, the BCCSL, in its continuing quest to satisfy the demands of the cricket loving public of Sri Lanka, is continuing negotiations with TWI to reduce its royalty fees, and is hopeful of succeeding in doing so.