Sky’s pundits are not likely to show up if the dispute remains unresolved
Sky TV and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have become involved in a heated dispute after the Board refused to allow commentators from the England-based company access to any of the Test venues.
In reaction to this, Sky TV have announced that they may not send any of their pundits to cover the highly anticipated series between England and India.
According to the Sunday Times, even though Sky hold the UK rights for covering the series, they have received a rather unusual demand from the BCCI, in which they are required to pay additional fees, totalling over £500,000 ($800,000) in order for their company to have their own facilities within the grounds.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the ‘realistic costs’ given by the BCCI are in relation to Sky’s wish of having sole coverage of the entire series.
Amongst everything else, the costs will go towards studio space and a commentary box for Sky’s own panel of commentators, a TV control room, audio and video feed, a scoring monitor, as well as space for satellite uplinking from the venues for 30 days of cricket.
However, Sky noted that by securing the TV rights for this series, all these benefits should already be provided for them.
Sky’s panel of expert pundits, which include the likes of former England captains Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham, have announced that they will not make any travel plans unless the dispute is resolved.
But, despite acquiring the TV rights, if the dispute between the two parties is not resolved soon, then Sky will be forced to accept commentary from the host broadcaster, while also being set up in a studio outside of the ground.
Problems for broadcasters from the UK have been a common sight during series against India.
Just last year during an ODI series between the two nations, audiences in both England and India were unable to watch the first three overs of a match in Hyderabad due to a dispute between the host broadcaster of that series, Neo Sport, and Prasar Bharati, who were the government agency responsible of putting up live telecasts to viewers outside of India.
Problems also arose before the start of England’s tour of India in 2006 between Sky and Nimbus, who, at the time, had recently bought the rights to cover all of India’s matches at home.
Since then, the BCCI have terminated their deal with Nimbus and instead signed an extremely lucrative contract with Star TV.