England in India 2012-13 October 21, 2012

Sky and BCCI in pre-series dispute

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sky TV may not send its team of commentators to cover England's tour of India, which begins in November, unless a dispute with the BCCI over access for their commentary team to the Test venues is resolved. Sky hold the UK rights for the series, but the Sunday Times in London reported the broadcaster had received an unexpected demand from the Indian board for additional fees totalling more than £500,000 ($800,000) for their commentary team to have facilities at the grounds.

ESPNcricinfo understands the figure being quoted to Sky is the BCCI's estimate of 'realistic costs' related to Sky's wish to have independent and unilateral coverage of the India-England series. The cost includes, among other things, studio space and a commentary box for Sky's own panel of commentators, a TV control room, audio and video feed, a scoring monitor, as well as space for satellite uplinking from the venues for 30 days of cricket. Sky's interpretation is that securing of TV rights should automatically assume such provisions as part of the deal.

Sky warned their bank of commentators, including former England captains Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham, that they regard the BCCI's demands as brinkmanship, and that they may not travel unless a solution can be found. If the dispute is not settled, Sky would be forced to accept commentary from the host broadcaster, or to set up a studio outside the grounds.

Problems for UK broadcasters have been a common feature of England games in India. During a one-day series last year, television audiences in India and England were deprived of the first three overs of a match in Hyderabad because of a dispute between the host broadcaster of the time, Neo Sports, and Prasar Bharati, the government agency responsible for uplinking live telecasts out of India.

There was also an issue about Sky TV's own commentators awaiting what one Sky commentator told ESPNcricinfo were "government clearances", before being able to broadcast live out of India. As a result, the Sky TV producers made use of the Neo Cricket commentary team, which included Matthew Hoggard and Dermot Reeve.

There were also problems for Sky before England's 2006 tour of India, when they agreed terms with Nimbus, who had just bought the rights to India's home matches, only a few days before the series began.

The Indian board has since terminated its deal with Nimbus because of alleged payment defaults, and announced a more lucrative deal with Star TV.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2012, 12:21 GMT


  • Samir on October 24, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Frankly, I don't care if the sky team of Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham comment or not. As far as I know, Sky charges a lot for their coverage from it's subscribers. It's time they were made to pay for the same. Getting the rights for TV coverage is one thing and having the infrastructure is completely different. Sky should realise this. Just because I got a car doesn't mean I don't have to pay for fuel to run it.

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    Both Sky Sports and Star Sports are owned by Rupert Murdoch! So why don't they have a UK based studio as they always do and select a panel of commentators representing both England and India. After all both channels are under Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation! This would reduce costs.

  • Matthew on October 23, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    Since the matches will be on in the early hours UK time would anyone actually care if, IF, sky decided not to show it?

  • Nilantha on October 22, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    i would be very interested to see what the reaction would be if sky decided they no longer wanted the series..whilst i would certainly like to watch it, i certainly dont want my sky bill to increase any further...

  • Dummy4 on October 22, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    well why does Bcci have to make a fuss lout of everything!! why cant processes be more smoother??? we want the best panel to come and speak!!!!

  • Pawandeep on October 22, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    There no free dinners sky. Comeon sky already charge big money from there customers in UK. So it is sorted sky can pay BCCI half a million pounds.

  • Subash on October 22, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    How greedy can one get? BCCI has is an empire with tons of revenue in its banks, why does it need more. More importantly with this $$$ flow we are forgetting how to treat people who visit us. This is not our culture....BCCi remove your heads from u know where

  • Matthew on October 22, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @crokcinfo Well spotted! As for the story itself. I'd rather Sky refused to show the series at all rather than have to increase the prices all for the sake of one series.

  • jijo on October 22, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Caption of the image "The first three overs of the India-England ODI in Hyderabad in 2011 were lost due to TV audiences" !! What did TV audience do????:)

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