Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has acquired the exclusive cable and satellite television rights for the live telecast of the International Cricket Council (ICC) cricket tournaments from 2002 to 2007. The deal gives SETMAX the right to beam live telecasts of 318 one-day cricket matches, and the ICC Trophy of 2005, into millions of homes across India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia.
Though exact figures were not divulged, the channel was willing to confirm that the deal was the 'single largest broadcast licensing deal' in Indian television history, and the biggest deal in India's cricket history. The deal allows SETMAX, the hybrid cricket and movies channel of Sony, to broadcast live all the matches of all three key ICC cricket tournaments, namely, the two ICC cricket World Cups in 2003 and 2007, three ICC Champions Trophies (2002, 2004 and 2006), and three Under-19 Cricket World Cups (2003, 2004 and 2006).
Though Sony will have the exclusive rights - won in a multi-pronged pitch with all the other major sports channels including ESPN STAR Sports and Sahara bidding - by law Doordarshan will telecast all matches in which India plays, the semi-finals, the finals, and will have rights to telecast some of the other matches subject to the payment of licence fees to Sony. The Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) holds the broadcasting and sponsorship rights to all ICC events until the 2007 World Cup. World Sport Nimbus Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based joint venture between Nimbus Communications and World Sport Group Plc, provides sponsorship marketing and event management services globally to GCC. World Sports Nimbus co-chairman, Harish Thawani, said that several channels had made the initial bid, but that quite a few of them were weeded out in the first round since they did not have the necessary financial capability.
The ICC cricketing bonanza goes live on air in September this year with the 2002 12-nation ICC Champions Trophy consisting of 10 test playing teams and two finalists from the ICC Trophy. The event will be played in India, Australia and Sri Lanka. Then comes the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup to be played in New Zealand between January and February 2003, and the ICC World Cup in South Africa from February 2003.
For Sony, the deal is a huge shot in arm, one that CEO Kunal Dasgupta described as the "moment of pride" in the channel's history since 1995. "Until now, the sports component of the channel was relatively small. Now, we will be a movies and cricket channel," says Rajat Jain, executive vice-president and business head, SETMAX.
The licensing fee is huge, and what Sony is banking on is the massive amount of money that will pour in as advertising revenue. The channel is also hoping for a substantial increase in its subscription revenue. The hope is founded on the fact that cricket ratings in the largest cricket programming market in the world have been consistently high, even when India has performed badly in cricket, or has been plagued by match-fixing allegations. "In India, cricket is not a mere male sport. It is entertainment for the whole family," says Dasgupta. © 2002 agencyfaqs!