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We ended Sony deal due to last year's IPL coverage: BCCI
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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), organiser of the Twenty20 cricket tournament, has alleged it terminated the broadcast contract with Sony’s SET Max due to serious violations of the deal’s terms by the broadcaster while telecasting the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) held last year.

Arguing the matter at the Bombay High Court today, BCCI counsels accused SET Max of allowing commercial interests to weigh over the coverage of IPL. This, they said, was communicated to Sony on February 9 this year. Sony accepted having received the BCCI letter.

BCCI counsels said SET Max telecast advertisements after the fifth ball of every over and did not show the last ball. Also, they said, the cameras did not follow the ball properly. Counsels for Sony said these were “operational issues.”

BCCI terminated its contract on March 14 by sending Sony a fax and signed a new contract with World Sports Group on the morning of March 15. The new contract allows BCCI to enter into a fresh agreement with any other broadcaster for domestic telecast rights of IPL.

On March 15, Sony moved the Bombay High Court, which granted an injunction, restraining the BCCI from entering into any broadcasting deal related to IPL.

BCCI urged the court to make WSG a party in the case. Sony objected to this. The court is likely to give its ruling soon.

On the issue of Reliance ADA group’s direct-to-home (DTH) arm, Big TV, walking out of the on-group sponsorship deal of Rs 137 crore after SET Max roped in Bharti Airtel’s DTH brand, Digital TV, as on-air sponsor, BCCI told the court it was in advanced stages of negotiations with Reliance and had requested Sony not to award the contract to Bharti or anyone else before it finished with Reliance one way or the other.

“But right now, this is not the main issue for us. The breach of contract is the main issue,” BCCI counsels told the court.

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