India news December 14, 2011

BCCI tells Nimbus to stop Ranji telecast

The BCCI has moved on its decision to scrap the broadcast rights deal with Nimbus Communications by asking it to stop providing the live feed of the Ranji Trophy on Neo Cricket. This is the first direct fallout of its decision on the rights deal, understood to have been taken on Monday but not yet formally made public by the BCCI.

On Tuesday, Neo Cricket had broadcast live the first day's play of the Ranji Trophy match between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in Motera, Ahmedabad, but there was no broadcast today. A BCCI official said the Board had "instructed Nimbus Sports Production not to give the feed to Nimbus Sports Media (Neo Cricket) from Wednesday."

Nimbus Sports Production is the production arm of Nimbus Communications and holds the rights for producing domestic cricket till 2014 in India. The BCCI pays Nimbus a fee to produce all matches televised in India, and holds the rights to decide as to whether the matches are in fact telecast.

The BCCI has made no formal announcement of the termination of its contract with Nimbus, nor did it issue any instructions to the production company on the first day of the Ranji match, due to which the first day of the match was telecast live. "Even if BCCI says do not give the feed to anyone, the production company will oblige," the official pointed out.

At the moment, there is no clarity on whether the telecast would be resumed. During the second day's play at the Motera though, it looked as if it was business as usual, with cameras in place and commentators speaking into microphones. The production team went about its business with the footage of the game and the views of the commetators were being being formally recorded, even if only for the BCCI's archives.

The dispute between the BCCI and Nimbus will have an immediate impact on the coverage of the Ranji Trophy, currently in the last two rounds of its league phase with the knockout matches beginning on January 2. A BCCI official said the live coverage was a "priority" and a decision on to how to handle the live coverage of the remaining matches of the Ranji Trophy would be made soon.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo