New Delhi: Broadcaster ESPN, which holds the rights to telecast India-England test matches beginning July 19, has decided not to execute its threat of blocking signals to multi-system operator WWIL of Zee group till 26 July.
The decision, which would ensure that at least some Indian cricket fans get to catch the action of the first test match, was conveyed by ESPN to broadcast tribunal TDSAT during the hearing on 4 July of a petition filed by Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd (WWIL).
WWIL, which is among the many MSOs that ESPN threatened to disconnect signals over differences on subscription rate, contended that its agreement with the broadcaster expired on 31 May and the company was forcing them to renew it with a 100% increase in subscription fee for the period of June 2007 to May 2008.
“It is submitted that the petitioner has always been ready and willing to renew and enter into subscription agreement with ESPN... but could not be executed due to completely unreasonable, unjustified and unilateral demand,” WWIL said in its petition filed through counsel Maninder Singh.
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the two sides also informed the tribunal that negotiations were on between them on the issue.
Later, the TDSAT bench headed by Justice Arun Kumar issued notice to the ESPN directing it to file its reply.
ESPN also said that it would not disconnect the signals of the match feed till 26 July, the next date of hearing.
As per the national down linking policy, all sports broadcaster are to share feed of one-day matches with public broadcaster Doordarshan. They, however, have exclusive rights for test matches.