If the government has its way, the next season of Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament will be available to viewers on state-run broadcaster Doordarshan.
The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry is working on a proposal to make live IPL matches available on Doordarshan and has asked the sports ministry to weigh in on the matter, three people in the know said on condition of anonymity. No orders have been passed on the proposal yet.
The move will mean that Star India Pvt Ltd, the official broadcasters of IPL for the next five seasons beginning 2018, will have to share the live cricket feed with Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007. Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.
Star India, in September, won the television, digital, Indian and global media rights to IPL for the next five seasons, paying a record Rs 16,347.50 crore. Sony Pictures Networks held the rights for 10 years starting from 2008.
“A proposal has been moved to make IPL a sporting event of national importance so that it can reach a wider audience through Doordarshan. The I&B ministry had asked the sports ministry to look into the proposal. No orders have been passed yet,” said one of the three people cited above.
According to the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 (and a 2012 notification), all private broadcasters are required to share live broadcasting signals of sporting events of “national importance” with Prasar Bharati simultaneously.
, to enable the public broadcaster to re-transmit them on its terrestrial networks and DTH networks.
However, in a recent verdict, the Supreme Court said Prasar Bharati cannot share the feed it gets from rights owners such as Star on Doordarshan channels that are carried by cable operators and private DTH platforms. For the sports feed that the public broadcaster gets from private channels, it is also entitled to 25% of the total TV advertising revenue realised by them.
The I&B ministry and the sports ministry did not respond to e-mailed queries seeking comment. Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO at Prasar Bharati declined to comment as did Star India chairman and chief executive Uday Shankar.