New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Thursday named the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Summer and Special Olympics, Paralympics and certain tennis, hockey and football events as sporting events of “national importance."
In a gazette notification uploaded on its official website, the I&B ministry on Thursday said 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 Act (in a 2012 notification) requires all 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 them on its terrestrial networks and direct-to-home (DTH) networks.
In tennis, the ministry has identified all matches of Davis Cup and Grand Slam tournaments (men’s and women’s singles finals, all quarter-finals onwards matches featuring Indian players and all matches featuring Indian players in men’s, women’s doubles or mixed doubles from quarter-finals onwards) as nationally important events.
For hockey, the sports-feed of World Cup (all matches featuring India, semifinals and finals), Champions Trophy (all matches featuring India and finals) and Indira Gandhi Gold Cup (women semifinals and finals) will have to be shared by official rights holders with Prasar Bharati.
Additionally, the government has named the world cup (opening match, semifinals and finals), Asia Cup (all matches featuring India and semifinals and finals) and Santosh Trophy (semifinals and finals) as important events in football.
To be sure, these are non-cricketing events. Earlier in October 2016, the I&B ministry had announced all official one-day international, Twenty20 and test matches played by the Indian men’s cricket team, semifinals and finals of the men’s World Cup and International Cricket Council Championship Trophy as cricketing events of “national importance".
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Currently, Ten Sports has the broadcast rights to Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. While Star Sports was the official broadcaster for the 2016 Olympic Games for the Indian subcontinent, Sony Pictures Networks had the broadcast and digital broadcast rights for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Star India has the broadcast and digital rights for all cricket played in India until 2018 through a deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).