Big boost for Sri Lanka media rights deal; India agree to tour

Sri Lanka Cricket has received a shot in the arm days before its media rights deal is expected to close on June 15. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has reportedly agreed to reschedule its deferred tour of Sri Lanka in August.

India were to play three One Day Internationals and as many T-20 Is in Sri Lanka this month. The series was postponed due to the threat of  novel Coronavirus spread.

The series will be subject to clearances of the respective governments of the two nations, but the BCCI agreeing in principle to play the postponed series in the island nation is the best thing to have happened to the financial health of the  SLC, which had been compelled to postpone its media rights and ground sponsorship tender process twice in the absence of a viable bid.

If the BCCI were able to send the team to Sri Lanka in August or at later date, the next SLC media rights cycle will involve two home series against India. That will account for almost 80% of the total rights value.

Sony Pictures Sports Network is SLC’s biggest hope. The Mumbai-based sports broadcast network will also be able to strengthen its LIVE cricket offering with two series involving Team India. It will not just ensure a better offering for the rights value, but also more reach for the games.

According to information available with SportzFront, SLC has not accepted the earlier offers as the bidding broadcaster did not have good distribution network.

Sri Lankan publication, The Island has reported that the postponed series between the countries can go ahead provided the Indian Government clears the tour.

SLC will also seek nod from the Ministry of Sports to stage bilateral cricket. The cricket board is optimistic about getting a green signal as the nation has almost recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most restrictions including the lockdown are relaxed and tourism business is expected to return from August.

SLC is also aiming to allow up to 40% people in the stands for the series against India. “Ideally, we would want to fill up 30% to 40% of the venues. Spectators can maintain the one meter distance and watch games. However, the final call will be made by health officials. We will follow all their instructions,” The Island has reported an SLC official as saying.

Earlier yesterday, SLC has also revealed that the Asian Cricket Council has agreed to host the Asia Cup T20 Cricket in Sri Lanka. The Pakistan Cricket Board was officially slated to host the Asia Cup in the UAE. But the Asian Cricket Council Executive Board in a video-conference had agreed to shift event to  Sri Lanka under the aegis of the SLC.

SLC will also host the Asia Cup with the six nation tournament being shifted from Pakistan to Sri Lanka. This had been confirmed during a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council via teleconference yesterday.

Also read: Sri Lanka gets nod to host Asia Cup T20: SLC President

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