Telecast controversies December 24, 2004

ESPN moves Supreme Court to safeguard exclusive rights

Cricinfo staff

Many millions couldn't tune in to Tendulkar's record-equalling 34th century © Getty Images

Another day, and another mini-crisis in the world of cricket broadcasting in India. After the Kerala High Court had issued an order asking ESPN to share its feed of the Bangladesh-India one-day matches with Doordarshan, the national broadcaster, ESPN have filed a petition in the Supreme Court to block the move. Its counsel stated that such a move violated the channel's exclusive commercial right. However, the apex court's decision to post the case for early January means that Doordarshan can telecast the final two matches, to be played on December 26 and 27.

Chief Justice B Subashan Reddy and Justice Kurian Joseph of the Kerala High Court had issued an order on Wednesday, asking that ESPN allow Doordarshan to beam the pictures, with revenue shared on an 80:20 basis. ESPN have an exclusive arrangement with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and it contended that sharing the feed would be tantamount to infringement of its rights.

The channel has gone off air in many parts of India, with cable operators refusing to meet its financial demands. According to ESPN, the current dispute should have been solved by the intervention of the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal.