New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday wanted to know from the International Cricket Council (ICC) details on who inserts sponsor logos that appear in the sports feeds that it supplies to private broadcasters like Star Sports India Pvt. Ltd.
Under a 2007 rule, private broadcasters such as Star India must share coverage of sports events of national importance with the state-owned Prasar Bharati, without advertisements.
Star India had approached the apex court after Prasar Bharati demanded a clean feed, but Star contends that the rule bars only the advertisements it gets between overs and not the ones that ICC gets from sponsors.
A bench of justices M.Y. Eqbal and Kurian Joseph directed that the ICC be made a party to the proceedings and file its response by an affidavit, confirmed lawyer Saikrishna Rajagopal, who represents Star.
Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Star, told the court that it doesn’t any get revenue from the so-called on-screen credits. He contended that Star only shares the feed it receives from ICC, which comes embedded with the sponsor logo and other special features.
He also said such embedded features were “sports neutral” and would apply to sports across the board, like tennis, hockey, etc. He said that if a Wimbledon match had to be aired in the country whose official sponsor is Rolex SA, the present scheme would require Rolex names to be removed, which was unlikely.
The Delhi high court had on 3 October 2013 dismissed a ESPN Software Pvt. Ltd claim that Rule 5 of the Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007 was beyond the scope of the 2007 Act. ESPN had sought a declaration from the high court that its responsibility was to share the feed it received from the organiser without the advertisements it got. The apex court will consider the case next on 7 April.