Sahara wins England India cricket satellite rights

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Nimbus Communications Limited, the BCCI�۪s global media rights partner for Indian cricket till March 2010, today signed a landmark deal with Sahara One Television, to broadcast the India-England international cricket series starting 1st March 2006, and consisting of 3 Tests and 7 ODIs.

Sahara One Television will telecast all matches live.

In addition to the live telecast, Nimbus shall produce wrap around programming pre/post match and during breaks, to enhance the viewer experience on Sahara One. Nimbus Sport, the BCCI�۪s appointed producer, shall supply the world feed (live coverage) to Sahara One.

Shailendra Singh, Head of Sahara One Media And Entertainment Limited, said, ���We are delighted to partner with Nimbus and Indian cricket in this new strategic initiative to take Indian cricket to the next level. Sahara India Pariwar has deep commitment to cricket and we are sure that our massive reach in cable homes will ensure that this exciting series achieves record-breaking ratings.�۝

Given that Sahara One is free-to-air, it also ensures that there are no cable black outs of the channel as becomes the case often with sports channels trying to extract pay TV revenues.

Commenting on the deal, Akash Khurana, MD & CEO, Nimbus, said ���Our choice of the Sahara One platform was dictated by the fact that the channel has near 100% distribution in cable homes compared to sports channels that barely reach 50% of cable homes; and by the amazing commitment and vision for cricket of the Sahara India Pariwar.�۝

Nimbus will exclusively market the commercial airtime during the series on Sahara One. The arrangement between Nimbus and Sahara contemplates a win-win upside sharing beyond specified revenue thresholds.

In addition to Sahara One�۪s live broadcast and wrap-around programming, the Sahara One Network shall produce unilaterals that shall be aired exclusively on Sahara FILMY and Sahara News, focusing on the glamour events and behind-the-scenes action respectively around this series.

Only a short while ago, Biz Asia revealed that Doordarshan had been awarded the terrestrial TV rights for the India territory. Yesterday it was confirmed, Sky Sports had picked up the UK telecast rights for all India cricket played over the next four years. Earlier in the week, it was also announced the BBC had won exclusive UK radio rights. Now what remains is who will win the Europe and US telecast rights. We will keep you posted.

The deal struck today between Sahara One Television and Nimbus is only for the immediate England tour of India. Nimbus is yet to announce its telecast partner for other India cricket matches played over the next four years. This latest development is a big loss for India’s top sports players including ZEE Sports and ESPN Sports.

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