ESPN, Ten Sports take on gov decree

MUMBAI — ESPN-Star and Dubai-based Ten Sports are challenging a government decree forcing them to provide terrestrial feeds of their national and international sports coverage to pubcaster Doordarshan.

At stake is a dilution of their hugely expensive cricket rights, the most valuable piece of real estate in Indian TV.

ESPN is fighting the action in Delhi High Court, Ten Sports in Mumbai High Court.

The petitions have been adjourned until January.

The payboxes are willing to provide the feeds in rural areas where they have no presence but not in major cities where it would hit their revenues.

The upcoming international cricket series between India and archrival Pakistan is certain to be a major ratings draw.

Rights to the previous series were awarded to Subhash Chandra’s Zee Sports for $350 million.

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