M A I N   N E W S

Ten Sports to beam Karachi tie on DD
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 12
International sports channel, Ten Sports today agreed to provide Doordarshan (DD) signals for the live telecast of the first one day international cricket tie between India and Pakistan tomorrow at Karachi during a late evening hearing by the Supreme Court.

Ten Sports gave an undertaking to this effect before a three-judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice, Mr V.N. Khare, Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice S.H. Kapadia, which heard the matter at Chief Justiceís residence here.

The sports channel, earlier moved an appeal before the apex court against the Madras High Court order permitting Doordarshan (DD) to telecast the match.

The undertaking was given for the telecast of the Karachi match only and the court posted the matter for further hearing on March 15, a day ahead of the second one-dayer.

In an appeal against the Madras High Courtís interim order passed during the day, Ten Sports said that it has got exclusive right to telecast all cricket matches played in Pakistan under a 14.5-million-dollar five-year contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The High Courtís direction had come on a public interest litigation (PIL) by two citizensí consumer groups, seeking telecast of cricket matches throughout the country in view of the nation-wide interest generated in the game during the Indian teamís historic visit to Pakistan.

Ten sports also contended that it has spent a lot of money on acquiring the telecast right from the PCB and on generating advertisements. There would be a continuing liability of 33 million dollars by the sports channel to the PCB irrespective of the dilution of its rights in India by forced "simulcast" of its signals.

Earlier in the day Ten Sports CEO Cris McDonald told a press conference that his channel was ready to supply signals to DD in the low cable connectivity areas.

But Prasar Bharti was demanding share in the add revenue, which was not acceptable to them, he said.

In its petition, Ten Sports said the High Court had not taken into consideration the fact that theirís is a "pay channel" and it was providing the telecast on payment of Rs 17 to each household in the country through cable network.

Telecast of free-to-air signal by it as demanded by DD, would negate its contractual liability with the PCB, the Ten Sports said.

In a related development, the Delhi High Court has restrained those cable operators who did not have the authorisation from Ten Sports, from telecasting the cricket matches.

The order came on a petition by Ten Sports and its local distributors in the country, alleging that several known and unknown cable operators were likely to telecast the matches unauthorisedly, causing huge losses to it.

The High Court said a balance had to be struck between the public interest and the private commercial interests of Ten Sports, which had sunk millions of dollars to bag the global right.

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