Monday, March 15, 2004
POLITICS : Big Bully
The Government wants to have it's cake and eat it too. While that isn't a crime (per the rules set forth by the Govt.), the people who are suffering are the Ten Sports folks.
Millions in India don't care about the right or wrong of the issue, as long as they get to see the telecast of the Indo-Pak series. Half of the few thousands who do care, can shut their eyes or turn them away by claiming that it's a high-level decision and it's not right.. but what can we do?
Ten Sports bought the rights to the series back at a time when there wasn't a remote possibility of resolution of issues between the two nations and hence no chance of any cricket. They, in fact, bought rights to a lot of series to be played in Pakistan at a time when countries were cancelling tours left, right and of course, center, citing security fears (NZ returned, Aus and WI backed out). Ten Sports bore those losses in the spirit they were to be taken. That's business - you win some, you lose some.
Then came the bonanza. While it can be argued that it is a matter of national interest, we'll assume it is, because it bears well to see the brotherhood (bhaichaara) flowing. But someone's got to pay the price. All Ten Sports says is, pay the right price and DD can have the rights.
But no. DD wants to have the rights, pay a lesser amount than what Ten Sports would've got and then if Ten Sports objects then go crying to the Supreme Court. While it was in goodwill that they shared the telecast with DD for the 1st ODI, DD took full advantage of the fact, removing the Ten Sports logo (for the first 1.5 hour) as directed by the SC and then started airing it's own ads against the agreement.
For that, they should pay. But they're the big bully backed by the big brother (the Govt of India, who're getting maximum mileage in the pre-poll runup). They can stand up and say "Oh yeah, who's gonna make me?". With all the last minute wheeling and dealing, the nitty gritties of the default clauses should be worked out by Ten and DD. Else DD will repeat it. And for that the SC should make it pay.
On the flip side, Ten Sports too tried to make a quick buck in all the mess, by asking DD to cough up 25 Mil USD, whereas they bought the rights for only 8 MIL USD and collected on advertising revenue too. Which from a capitalistic point of view, is fair, but from a national point of view isn't.
But well, those two can bargain like the chennai auto wallas.
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