Cricket South Africa to sell TV rights till June 2012


South Africa is keen to sell its cricket telecast rights for four years, till June 2012, and has invited bids for the process. Tenders for the rights ensures 118 days of international cricket, for which Cricket South Africa (CSA) has refused to fix a floor price. India visits South Africa in 2010 for test matches, ODIs and T20 games.

Ten Sports and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have yet to reach an amicable solution on their broadcast rights. Nimbus Sports has earlier this week signed a two-year deal with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for the 2009 and 2010 Afri-Asia Cup. Nimbus has got a headstart in bagging the ACC deal.

Under the new deal, Nimbus will market all commercial rights to the events, on global basis. The parties have agreed to explore new opportunities for the growth of cricket at all levels in Asia and Africa. Both the parties have resolved their earlier differences, which led to the ending of their previous agreement for the last Afro-Asia Cup in June 2007.

Last year, Nimbus pulled out of the three-year partnership, for which it had bought the rights for $ 12 million. Nimbus cited the absence of several big stars in the Asia XI as the reason for pulling the plug.

The Afro-Asia Cup is an ICC-sanctioned event comprising three One-day Internationals between the best players from Asia and Africa. The Afro Asia Cup 2009 is scheduled to be held in Kenya and 2010 in India.

In the case of South Africa, Cricket South Africa had last sold the TV rights to Ten Sports for just one year. The Afro-Asia Cup was first held in South Africa in August 2005. The idea was to raise money for the Asian Cricket Council and the African Cricket Association. It could not be held in 2006. This time round, the bidding is expected to be competitive as the timings of the matches suit Indian audiences. Prior to Ten Sports, ESPN Star Sports had the rights for CSA.

As for the SLC series, Ten Sports had signed a deal last year with SLC renewing its deal from 2009-2012. India will visit Sri Lanka again during this period. The deal was subsequently cancelled. However, Ten Sports maintains that it is on solid legal ground. A decision in this regard will be taken soon.