Indian govt may force ESS to share World Cup feed

ESPN-Star Sports, which is banking heavily on its "exclusive" rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in India, may suffer a setback as it may be forced to to share the feed with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

According to official sources quoted by The Hindu, the FIFA World Cup figures in the national government's tentative list of "events of national importance" whose feed will have to be shared with the public broadcaster in the "national interest". According to the newspaper, its sources said "ESPN-Star may be asked to share either the entire feed, or for some matches like semi-final and finals, with Doordarshan."

ESPN-Star has managed to sell a majority of the advertising space for the World Cup and is bullish on a record audience. "During the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, the Indian viewership had reached 75 million. We hope to take this figure to 100 million this time round and break all previous records," ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd managing director R C Venkateish said recently.

See also: Cumulative World Cup viewers in India to top 804m (3 Apr)