Cricket fans in India will be deprived of live radio commentary of the ICC World Cup 2019 on the All India Radio, unless Prasar Bharati comes up with a proposal acceptable to the ICC World Cup audio rights holders Channel 2 and Sports Flashes.
International Cricket Council’s global audio rights partner Channel 2 has sublicensed the rights to India Sports Flashes, the web- and app-based digital sports radio platform.
Channel 2 and Sports Flashes have been offering to share the ICC World Cup live audio feed with Prasar Bharati. However, the latter is reluctant to accept any other deal than buying the radio rights, which can allow the AIR do its own programming.
The Delhi High Court has failed to break the deadlock with its verdict that neither Sports Flashes “is obliged to share such feed nor Prasar Bharti is obliged to accept the same”.
In the prevailing scenario there is little hope that Indian cricket fans will get live radio commentary of the World Cup 2019, starting in England and Wales from May 20.
However, the audio rights Channel 2 and Sports Flashes are still not ruling out the possibility of a solution. Albeit, they put the ball in Prasar Bharati’s court. “We are always willing to collaborate with All India Radio for a tie-up similar out our feed sharing deals with national broadcasters all over the world,” says Ajay Sethi, Chairman, Channel 2.
Meanwhile, Prasar Bharati has submitted before the Delhi High Court that it will not take shared feed from Sports Flashes, the live audio feed rights holder for the territory.
Even as 500 million people will have access to the World Cup live commentary across Sports Flashes app and web platforms, a number of Indian fans in areas where internet access is still a problem will be deprived of World Cup live commentary. “We will have around 500 million people getting audio feed of the World Cup on Sports Flashes. Of course, being the public broadcaster AIR has certain reach even in the areas where internet still doesn’t reach. Cricket has a following in those remote areas, too. Those audience will be deprived of the World Cup live commentary,” says Raman Raheja, MD and CEO, Sports Flashes. “We are still open if comes up with some kind of a solution othe than their insistence of buying the audio rights.”
If the stalemate continues, this will be the first time that the All India Radio will not air ball by ball live commentary of the ICC World Cup.