Sunday, December 5, 2004
A battle over sports programming in India is flaring. ESPN Star Sports has apparently engaged in a little self-help by pulling the plug on its feeds to cable operator Asianet. ESPN says Asianet owes it large amounts in unpaid fees; the Indian company claims the sports network has been trying to use "arm-twisting tactics" against cable operators.
The annual service agreement between the two companies ran out November 30, and negotiations on a renewal have faltered, due in part to ESPN’s demand that it be paid the past-due amounts. Asianet says that the real trouble in negotiations is that ESPN is insisting on one-sided contract clauses that, it claims, conflict with Indian law.
If the dispute continues viewers could miss the extremely popular India-Pakistan cricket match.