The ongoing controversy surrounding the India tour of Australia could result in a loss of Rs 90 crore for rights holder ESPN STAR Sports in India.
According to Business Standard, the broadcaster could lose a hefty amount of advertising revenue, if the India-Australia cricket series gets cancelled.
STAR Cricket, the host channel for the ongoing test match series has already raked in Rs 17-20 crore from the first two test matches.
The decision of the Indian cricket team to stay on in Sydney (the venue for the recently-concluded second test match), till the final hearing of the three-test match ban for its bowler Harbhajan Singh gets sorted out, threatens the future of the remaining tour.
India came to Australia in December for a three-month tour involving four test matches, one Twenty20 match and a 15 day One Day International triangular series with Sri Lanka.
In an early reprieve, Harbhajan was told by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that he was cleared to resume playing until his appeal is heard.
However, media agency sources told Business Standard that in the worst-case scenario of the tour getting cancelled, advertisers will look at other avenues on the ESPN STAR Sports network to redeem the amount locked in.
Said a leading advertiser of the matches, “We are of course are protected from any loss. However, it is too early to comment on the future course of action”.
“The ICC does have provisions of protecting its broadcasters in the event of any cancellation of cricket fixtures under extreme situations,” said a media expert.
Article from Business Standard