Sports News

Will there be a blackout? – West Indies’ TV rights still not sold for Asia!

Poor ratings of Sri Lanka, massive time difference, and lack of Asian region feed likely to create a complete live-coverage blackout of the West Indies series

AMAZING TIME DIFFERENCE!

In SL time, when will the WI matches be held?

* Sri Lanka will play three T20Is, three ODIs, and two Tests in Antigua from 3 March to 2 April

* The venue Antigua is nine-and-half hours behind Sri Lanka time

* Therefore the first T20I will start on Wednesday (3) at 6 p.m. in Antigua. It will be at 3.30 a.m. on Thursday (4) in Sri Lanka

* The nine-and-half-hour time difference will apply to the other two T20Is as well, to be played on 5 and 7 March

The ODIs

* The first two ODIs will be day games, to be played on 10 and 12 March. They will start at 7 p.m. Sri Lanka time (on the same day) and can go on till possibly 2 a.m. the following day

* The third ODI will be a day-nighter and will start at 11 p.m. Sri Lanka time the same night. But it can go on till 6 a.m. the following day morning

The Tests

* The two Tests are scheduled to start at 7.30 p.m. Sri Lanka time each day, possibly going on till following day 2.30 a.m.

* Sri Lanka will play three T20Is on 3, 5, and 7 March in Coolidge Cricket Ground, three ODIs on 10, 12, and 14 March at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and two Tests, from 21-25 March and 29 March-2 April at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in the West Indian island of Antigua and Barbuda

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Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced last week a major broadcasting agreement with Super Sport. But so far CWI has not reportedly gone for any agreement with a broadcaster in the Asian market indicating that there will be no live coverage of the Sri Lanka-West Indies series starting on Wednesday (3).

CWI on Thursday (25) confirmed officially its third new multi-year broadcast rights agreement with Super Sport. Super Sport has thus secured exclusive rights for airing live coverage of West Indies men’s and women’s home internationals and regional tournaments, played in the Caribbean, on its television and digital platforms for four years (until 2024) in sub-Saharan Africa.

No broadcaster in Asia

Super Sport’s newest CWI coverage cycle starts with the West Indies vs. Sri Lanka series, which commences on Wednesday with the three-match T20I series.

In two major broadcast agreements announced earlier, CWI reached the United States market, with ESPN+ channel, and the United Kingdom and Ireland markets, with BT Sport.

The recent agreement with Super Sports will ensure that over 54 African countries and islands, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Kenya are fed with live cricket action from the Caribbean.

But still there is no agreement whatsoever reached between CWI and a potential broadcaster to provide live coverage to Asia.

Poor standing of Sri Lanka team

The Morning Sports reported only last week that there was a great possibility of the one-month long Sri Lanka tour of West Indies will be shown live by none of the local TV channels. That was after contacting two stations in Sri Lanka who show live cricket coverage domestically over the years. Now, reports emerging from the Caribbean islands indicate that the Sri Lanka series may not be shown live anyway in the entire Asian region.

We in The Morning Sport pointed out this fact first on Monday, 22 February. There we said that there could be a lukewarm response in the broadcasting market for the West Indies-Sri Lanka series mainly due to fact that Sri Lanka team is not performing well enough at present to attract competitive bidders for showing their live action mainly in the Asian region.

Massive time difference between venue and Asia

The other contributing factor for this lukewarm response is the massive nine-and-half-hour time difference between Sri Lanka and Antigua. This means all action –particularly the day-night action in Antigua—going deep into night here in the Asian subcontinent. At times the live feed can run past dawn the next day.

This is a major reason to distract advertisers on the live coverage. Creating viewer interest during these extraordinary playing hours needs exceptional appeal from the part of the players, which Sri Lanka is lacking very much at the moment.

Ricky Skerritt elated

CWI President Ricky Skerritt has expressed his satisfaction last week over the recently struck deal with Super Sport.

“This new long-term Super Sport agreement ensures that the much-loved West Indies teams will be accessible to an expanded number of African consumer markets with sub-Saharan Africa’s premier broadcaster.

“As CWI’s third major media rights agreement finalised in the past few weeks, we are excited that Super Sport will be featuring every international series and regional tournament from the Caribbean, including the upcoming Sri Lanka series and the rescheduled tour of the West Indies by South Africa in June.”