The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have cancelled their partnership with broadcaster Nimbus over non-payment of fees.
Nimbus have televised all of India’s home internationals since 2007, but the BCCI took the decision to end the contract after the broadcaster had not paid the 50% advancement fee for the recently concluded series with England and the West Indies.
Relationships between the two were already on the rocks after a dispute between the parties and the Indian government saw a picture blackout for the first 20 minutes of the first India v England one-day international in October, much to the annoyance of viewers around the world-including here in the UK on Sky Sports.
Usually, overseas rights for sports events are sold by the governing body or organising committee. For example, Sky purchase their Australian cricket rights from Cricket Australia, not Channel Nine, but where the BCCI’s decision could cause issues for Sky is that it appears they appointed Nimbus as the global rights holders, and it was their responsibility to sell them on. This means Sky’s deal for Indian cricket is likely with Nimbus, and not with the BCCI itself-so the recent decision voids that contract and Sky could have to renegotiate.
One benefit is that India do not have another home series until August 2012 when they face New Zealand, which leaves plenty of time for a new broadcaster to be found, and new contracts to be signed. But who with? The two obvious choices, ESPN Star Sports, who show ICC tournaments and the Champions League Twenty20 are reportedly short of cash, as are TEN Sports, who televise Sri Lanka and Pakistan’s home internationals, so the BCCI may have to accept a drop in the rights fees.
Any potential renegotiation over UK rights would be a major headache for Sky, who only signed their current deal less than 12 hours before the October 2010 series between India and Australia and will not want to go through all that hassle again-especially with England due back in the country for four tests, seven one-day internationals and two T20 internationals next November.