New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Tuesday named all official one-day international, Twenty20 and test matches played by the Indian men’s cricket team, semi-finals and finals of the men’s World Cup and International Cricket Council Championship Trophy as cricketing events of “national importance”.
In a gazette notification uploaded on the official website of the I&B ministry, the government identified these as events of high public interest, which essentially means that the broadcasting rights’ holders of these events will have to share the feed for these with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007.
The law (in a 2012 notification) required private broadcasters to share live broadcasting signals of sporting events of “national importance” with Prasar Bharati simultaneously, to enable the public broadcaster to re-transmit the same on its terrestrial networks and direct-to-home networks.
According to the notification, such matches “are considered to be of high public interest by the central government”.
Currently, Star India has the broadcast and digital rights for all cricket played in India through a deal with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The company had paid Rs3,851 crore in 2012, which gave it exclusive media rights to cricket matches organized by BCCI until 2018.
Star also holds broadcasting rights for all events of the International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2015 to 2023.
The government’s notification comes after the Supreme Court in May ruled that broadcasters of important sports events must remove all commercials, sponsor logos and credits before handing a clean feed of the event to Prasar Bharati, citing public interest. The dispute arose after Star India filed a case against Prasar Bharati when the latter demanded clean feeds from Star. Star had not removed its channel logo, and certain on-screen credits for the India-Australia-Sri Lanka cricket tri-series held in 2012.
The new notification supersedes the one issued in 2012.