Cable operators-broadcaster tiff upsets cricket fans

February 20th, 2011 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 20 (IANS) A tussle between cable operators and ESPN Star Sports — the World Cup’s official broadcaster — has deprived thousands of cricket enthusiasts in this union territory and neighbouring Punjab of catching the live action of the matches.Three cable networks - Siti cable, Win cable and Fastway - have accused the broadcaster of hiking subscription charges just before the World Cup and switching off the signal. The private cable operators have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against this decision. The hearing is slated for Monday.

Though Doordarshan is telecasting live the matches featuring India, and the semi-finals and the final, cricket aficionados here are disappointed as they would miss the expert commentary and action of other matches.

Mukesh Sharma, general manager of Fastway cable, said: “ESPN has refused to reduce the subscription fees that they had increased before the World Cup. This is illegal and we are waiting for the court’s decision. We have the support of all local cable networks.”

A senior official of a local cable network said the World Cup is one of the major events for ESPN Star Sports in 2011. They had enhanced the subscription charges by over 35 percent.

However, this tussle has left the cricket fans disappointed and many of them have planned to get a DTH (direct to home) satellite connection at their homes.

“Doordarshan is telecasting some of the matches but we have the expert commentary only on ESPN. We cannot waste our time waiting for the court’s decision. So I have already applied for the installation of DTH service at my home,” Nishant Jain, who works in a pharmaceutical company here, told IANS.

Gaurav Sanghwan, resident of neighbouring Zirakpur town, told IANS: “Just one-week back, our cable operator was telecasting ESPN channel but now it is off air. I do not know the reason behind this. My family is very disappointed. We had waited for four-years for this World Cup. I am planning to get a DTH connection at home.”

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