England in India 2012-13

Sky and BCCI in pre-series dispute

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 21, 2012

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Suresh Raina tries to cut loose on a tricky pitch, India v England, 1st ODI, Hyderabad, October 14, 2011
The first three overs of the India-England ODI in Hyderabad in 2011 were lost to TV audiences © AFP
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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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2012, 13:21 GMT)


Posted by bharatputra83 on (October 24, 2012, 9:51 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.

Posted by   on (October 23, 2012, 1:50 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.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (October 23, 2012, 1:17 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?

Posted by yorkslanka on (October 22, 2012, 22:31 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...

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 17:14 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!!!!

Posted by pdsina on (October 22, 2012, 16:55 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.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (October 22, 2012, 15:21 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

Posted by yorkshirematt on (October 22, 2012, 14:59 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.

Posted by crikcinfo on (October 22, 2012, 13:19 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????:)

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

Ramiz,Nasir,Pomie,Greg,Arun Lal are top 5 commentators

Posted by Ulcer on (October 22, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

Skysports panel of experts are the best for me. Bumble, Athers, Holding, Nasser, et al give the best insights plus a fair review of the game. Sometimes their discussions are more interesting than the game itself. Mr Cliche (Shastri) and co on the other hand are mostly repetitive and very very irritating.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

@gappistan laxman sivaramakrishnan,russel Arnold and athar Ali khan are the worst

Posted by Selassie-I on (October 22, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

@Jimmers - I agree, mostly I turn down the SKY TV volume and put TMS on anyway, although I do have to revert back if it's a slow period of play and they have blowers on as he comes out with some realy uniteresting stuff. Althoguh I don't mind vaughny and athers too much. I see a lot of people saysing that SKY should pay for what they use, I think the issue is that they have already paid for the rights, usually you would get the studio with that, as with every other tour ever! So why a sudden change of heart by the BCCI, are they just trying to milk more money out of SKY? We already have to pay enough for our subscription to watch cricket in the UK - a minimum of about £45 per month (Over £500 a year!). It doesn't help if the BCCI are trying to make it more, it's becoming completley inaccesable to the average working man.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

I'm no great fan of the BCCI & its transparent & increasingly tiresome power plays, but Sky really *should* have ensured that a provision for extra broadcasting facilities was included in its initial contract with the BCCI. Anyway, that aside, the debate about our favourite commentators is a lot more interesting. Personally, I find Sivaramakrishnan & Bhogle as shrill & annoying as Russel Arnold & David Lloyd; neither do either Gower, Botham, Atherton, Hussain, Shastri, Ganguly, Sidhu or Gavaskar bring very much to the table. My own six-man commentary dream team for the series would be Sanjay Manjrekar, the inexperienced but highly knowledgeable & articulate Murali Kartik, Geoff Boycott, Michael Holding, Ian Chappell & Mark Butcher. I'd be interested to hear what others think, based on a six-man format with two commentators each from England & India.

Posted by Gappistan on (October 22, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Agree with the top 5 but can u help me putting the worst three, I have Rameez Raza, Arun Lal in my list but can't figure out the third may be Dada (respect him for his cricket but commentary is pathetic)

Posted by Gappistan on (October 22, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

@venkatesh018 Big Boss is taking care of Sidhu but I dunno how can we keep Siva away from the commentary. Hope he is very sad by CSK's exit from CLT20 and will be normal before the start of IPL6.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

@cricket lover 1969, lets conduct a poll about this on cricinfo then we can see who's kidding:)

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

@gappistan but Ravi shastri provides excitement with his voice. What can David Lloyd say - ' start the tuk tuk ' or 'wallooooooop'. Or controversial Nasser Hussain. TOP 5 commentators till date are - TONY GREIG,BILL LAWRY,RICHIE BENAUD,GEOFREY BOYCOTT AND RAVI SHASTRI.

Posted by alikhan224 on (October 22, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

BCCI u beautyyyyyy...yes eng beat u 4-0 in test series but it doesnt mean that u treat ur guests like this...let them show and share another 4-0 defeat on their own channels...come on be brave enough.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (October 22, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Ah, this may concern something other than money (just for a moment indulge me & run with it) -- could this be to do with the use of technology that Sky rightly regards as giving its audience the best possible & most informed coverage (although it is far from cheap as chips for its subscribers)? I am absolutely certain that the BCCI doesn't want anything that undermines their noble & Canute-like stance on this one!

Posted by ooper_cut on (October 22, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

Ravi Kiran dude, you are kidding, right ?

I second Nishant Gandhi, just cancel the series, let the players take some much needed rest.

Posted by Gappistan on (October 22, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Ravi Shastri,, great commentator?? He is better that Rameez but has same dialogues for every match such as What we need is a partnership, match will go down to the wire, that's what the doctor ordered. Same with Sunny, it is a bad ball but still has to be hit and all his fake accent in terms of T, K and P as TH KH and PH. The only world class commentator that we have is Harsha Bhogle. Would love to listen to Mumble, Chappel, Holding or Danny than Sunil Gavaskar anyday.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

Well, nothing of this sort happened when England played against Pakistan in the UAE not so long ago. TENsports (India based) had the exclusive broadcast rights and they invited Sky's panel commentators (Nasser, Atherton, Bumble, Sir Ian Botham) to join the TENsports team of commentators. Why do they need a separate studio and all that?? Doesn't make any sense.

Posted by satish619chandar on (October 22, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Is it unrealistic term? I think the Sky boradcasts it in Indian channels for some money when we tour England and Channel 9 does the same when we tour Australia with their own commentary team. But why does Sky need to interfere in broadcasting games taking place in India? Let the broadcast be the partner of BCCI and the England fans can watch the game. Wouldn't it cause damage to the contract BCCI has with its partners? Some folks are too eager to bounce on BCCI without looking into picture. If SKY wants their own things, let them pay for it!

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

Terminate the series. No matches no issues.. Will also give Indian players some rest...:)

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (October 22, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

Presumably Sky will have a plan B?

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 2:45 GMT)

English commentators are nothing in front of Ravi shastri. His powerful voice and excitement is unmatched by any English commentator.

Posted by Jimmers on (October 22, 2012, 0:59 GMT)

Just listen to it on the radio, TMS is far better than the tripe they come out with on Sky anyway

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 22, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

@bobmartin: Weren't the English fans among some of the most vocal critics of the ICC rankings back when India were no.1 in both ODIs and Tests a few years back ??? Spare me the sudden 'U' turn my friend.

Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

I am confused here, England have toured India since the "exclusive deal" came into place, so presumably these demands are new? Either way, I don't look forward to my Sky Bill going up as a result.

Posted by bobmartin on (October 21, 2012, 22:00 GMT)

@AshishSehwag "We are the World Champions and the global leaders in cricket. " Very interesting... World leaders ? Last time I checked ( ie 5 minutes ago) in the ICC Rankings, India are 5th ( YES 5th) in the Test list, 3rd in both the ODI and T20 lists and currently have a single team left in your own CLT20 competition..

Posted by mahicric on (October 21, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

If you want special facilities, you have to pay. Whoever is commenting BCCI is greedy are they going to pay for uplinking fees?? Do you know BCCI has to pay for uplinking, they are not getting it for free? I don't understand people are commenting without using their commonsense, their only motto is bash BCCI for everything.

Posted by haq33 on (October 21, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

If it keeps Bob Willis from parading his questionable "punditry action" on my TV screen then good.

Posted by prashnottz on (October 21, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

Sadly one sided piece. Did anyone bother to contact BCCI? Is this the norm in general? Or are BCCI setting a new precedent? What are the exact words in the contract? And BCCI is no charity btw, shock, surprise I know... nd dont tell me tht Murdoch is a pardigm of virtue either... I like this move as this is income for my country as well...

Posted by karths on (October 21, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

Although i sympathize with SkyCricket,as @Skylight28 pointed out,it is their responsibility to ensure that it is included in the contract.No point complaining now especially knowing full well how crony BCCI is.

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (October 21, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

I want david bumble lloyd in commentary...

Posted by Skylight28 on (October 21, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

In business, there is no such thing as "automatically assuming". If the original contract did not say that the provisions would be part of the deal, then BCCI has the right and privilege to charge the appropriate amount for it.

Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

man i really hate bcci administrators also i m indian they doesnt know any thing about cricket except money they get from it. i wonder whet they do with them.

Posted by AshishSehwag on (October 21, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

It is only fair that the needs of the BCCI are adequately met. We are the World Champions and the global leaders in cricket. If sky want to use Indian facilities then they should pay for them, it seems simple to me. The BCCI are representing India well, we do not have to listen to the rest of the world, we just have to follow our conscience. It seems most of the world is jealous of India's power and financial might. Without India, cricket would not be at the level it is, so just pay up !!!!

Posted by Homer2007 on (October 21, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Isnt " independent and unilateral coverage of the India-England series" above and beyond having rights to broadcast England games to English audiences? And were ESS subject to similar fees/charges by the ECb when they hosted their own commentary team in 2011 in England?

Posted by venkatesh018 on (October 21, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

Please resolve this quickly and spare us from Laxman Siva and Navjot Sidhu . Just can't imagine the broadcast of this marquee series without Athers and Nasser.

Posted by CricFan78 on (October 21, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Stay put at home sky with your biased commentators who are anyway going to moan about DRS and all that during India tour

Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

Absolute Rubbish. Sky are one of the best channels for showing cricket on. Whether it be India v England or Canada v Kenya. It has great (if not better) commentary than Star and more stats and shorter breaks unlike Neo, where you are put on a break every over and don't get to see the 1st ball until the ads are over.

India are making a mockery of Sky and demanding stupid amounts of money for what they already had ?!?!?!?!?

Posted by cricmad81 on (October 21, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

Don't understand what the problem is ? Do the sky team want everything for free? They should pay the costs or else take the star tv feed.Their commentators specially naseer,bob willis are pretty useless as it is.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (October 21, 2012, 16:00 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

So sorry to hear the state of BBCI affairs. Always trying to leech more money by any means possible.

Posted by InsideHedge on (October 21, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

If SKY want all these special facilities, they can expect to pay.

Posted by spence1324 on (October 21, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

No shock here BCCI just what more money, do they have any shame.......well do they??????????

Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

BCCI is acting too smart and trying to dominate the entire cricketing world with unrealistic terms! ICC, over to you....

Posted by delboy on (October 21, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

It might be time for the ICC to have their own TV channel. That way they will not have to sell on the broadcasting rights and may just be able to justifiable break even and hence keep the cost affordable for the paying public and have a seamless standard of broadcast for TEST matches at least.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (October 21, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

The BCCI v the Murdoch Empire. This could get interesting! World War 3 awaits!

Posted by DeepakSarathy on (October 21, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

awesome........ love the petty disputes!!

Posted by cabinet96 on (October 21, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

LOL. They're just so evil.

Posted by   on (October 21, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

Typical greedy indian board

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