If you are a die hard cricket fan, and of the firm opinion that Test matches are the ‘real thing’, make one of those ‘Learn Tamil In a Week’ books your handy companion over the next 10 days. That’s because if you wish to catch the India-Bangladesh Test Series on the telly, chances are you’ll encounter Tamil phrases such as “Dhoni mattayaiveesinaar…. anaal thavarivittaar….” (Dhoni swings, and misses).

Thanks to the ongoing three way tussle between Neo Sports, the Nimbus-promoted channel that owns the telecast rights for the series, DTH operators, and cable operators, millions of cricket fans across the country are being forced to watch the live telecast on the Chennai-based, free-to-air network Raj TV, with Tamil commentary that can be described as lifeless even for Tamil speakers. Now, that’s better than a blackout, but the bad news is, it is likely to stay this way for most Test Matches that Neo Sports is set to cover.

Neo Sports, which has bagged the rights to air the matches from the Board of Control forCricket in India (BCCI), is not available on either Tata Sky or Dish TV, the direct-to-home platforms, and a majority of cable operators too have decided to black out the channel.

India’s recent poor performances in the World Cup means that even the national broadcaster Doordarshan, which has often arm-twisted private players to share live feed, has given the Test series a miss.

Neo has a distribution tie-up with Star, but the latter claims the pact doesn’t hold good for the Test matches in Bangladesh.

As for Neo Sports, it’s a clear loss of eyeballs, which translate into loss of ad revenues. For any cricket match, advertising rates are normally pegged 2-2.5 times higher than common programmes across channels. However, the only consolation for Neo Sports is that at least the pictures are being beamed through some outlet with Neo’s logo, and this will rake in some additional moolah, thanks to its deal with Raj TV. Source: EconomicsTimes