<
>

Sky forced to increase bid for England's tour

England's first Test against India is less than two weeks away, yet TV and radio coverage of the tour is still in doubt. Nimbus, who paid $612 million ( 352 million) for the rights to broadcast India's home matches until 2010, has requested $9 million ( 5 million) from English broadcasters, and is currently in talks with Sky.

Sky, who hold exclusive rights for all England's home games, were rejected out of hand by Nimbus yesterday.

"We find the terms offered by Sky Sports to be singularly unattractive," the Nimbus chairman Harish Thawani told the Sunday Telegraph. "We will demonstrate there are some alternatives for cricket in the UK. Their [Sky Sports'] monopoly has just ended."

Thawani added that any highlights offered to UK broadcasters would be shown on either Channel 4, whose live coverage of England's home games ended last September, or Channel 5, who will be the sole terrestrial broadcaster to show highlights of England's home games next summer.

While the TV rights continue to be in turmoil, there is better news for the BBC; Test Match Special, their flagship radio production, is in negotiations with Nimbus. It is understood that the BBC will pay just under 1m ($1.7m) for their radio rights.

Barring a substantial increase in their offer to Nimbus, Sky seem unlikely to secure the rights for England's tour at this late stage and it is understood that the live broadcast of the tour will be shown on one of the UK's cable networks: ARY Digital, Sony or Zee.