Pakistan bans IPL broadcasting in retaliation for perceived PSL snub
The government of Pakistan, in an apparent tit-for-tat move, has banned any broadcasting in the country of this year's Indian Premier League, the high-profile Twenty20 cricket competition, which starts tomorrow.
The move is seen as direct retaliation for Indian broadcasters abandoning their coverage of the 2019 Pakistan Super League after a terrorist attack in Kashmir (the territory whose governance is disputed by India and Pakistan) in February in which 40 Indian security personnel were killed.
The Pakistan government vehemently denied allegations that the perpetrators of the attack were based in its country.
Pakistan’s information and broadcasting minister Fawad Chaudhry has confirmed the suspension of IPL broadcasting was linked to the similar suspension of PSL telecasting in February. The IPL was due to be televised in Pakistan by Geo Super.
Chaudhry said: “During the PSL, the way the Indian companies and the government treated Pakistan cricket after that, we can’t tolerate that IPL is shown in Pakistan.”
DSport, the official Indian broadcaster of the PSL, stopped covering the tournament following the attack.
Meanwhile, IMG Reliance, the joint venture between IMG, the international sports and entertainment company, and Reliance Industries, the Indian conglomerate, withdrew as the production partner, forcing the organiser to find a replacement at the competition's mid-point.
Chaudhry said: “I feel if the IPL is not shown in Pakistan, it will be a loss for IPL and Indian cricket. We [Pakistan] are a cricketing superpower in international cricket.”
While the IPL will not now be shown in Pakistan, worldwide digital broadcast rights outside India have now been secured by YuppTV, an Indian over-the-top online content provider of South Asian TV programming.
YuppTV will now have the rights to digitally broadcast the IPL to existing and new users in countries and regions such as Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South America and continental Europe.
The broadcaster showed last year's IPL in Australia under a sub-licensing agreement with Indian broadcaster Star India, after being an unsuccessful bidder for the rights to broadcast the IPL in the Middle East and North Africa for a five-year period starting from 2018.
YuppTV is backed by Emerald Media, a platform created by investment firm KKR to fund investment opportunities in the media and entertainment industries across Asia, and is headquartered in Hyderabad in India, and Atlanta in USA. It offers live and catch-up TV, and claims to be the number-one internet pay-TV platform for Indians abroad.
In other IPL developments, the Rajasthan Royals franchise has signed up Inox, a multiplex cinema operator, as its official leisure partner. Inox will have its logo on the Royals’ shirts in the upcoming 2019 season. Inox joins JK Lakshmi Cement, Alcis Sportswear and Dream 11 fantasy cricket, among others, in the ranks of the Royals’ sponsors.
Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad, losing finalists in last year’s IPL, have signed a deal with Indian radio station 93.5RED FM to continue as the team’s principal sponsor. The franchise and the radio station are both owned by the same corporation, Sun TV, and the same individual owner, Kalanithi Maran. Other Sunrisers sponsors include Coolwinks.com, Rupa (a clothing brand) and Nerolac (an industrial paint manufacturer).
The 2019 IPL runs until 12 May.