Why is Ten Sports sitting on so many rights?

I wanted to stay up last night. I wanted to stay up and watch the WI-Eng match till the very end. Waking up this morning and checking the scorecard, it seems like it was a really good match. And Fidel Edwards seems to have become a last-day-shutdown specialist. This is the second time this series he’s hung on. And he’d done so once before against India at ARG.

There was another reason I wanted to stay up last night. I wanted to watch Liverpool play Real Madrid. I woke up this morning and saw that it was an amazing game, too. Looking through the Guardian Football site (btw, Advani seems to be advertising heavily on that site; it’s a pity he never advertises here on my site) I noticed that Chelski-Juve was also a strong game, despite the result. Another reason I would’ve wanted to stay up last night. For the record, I slept at 12:10. Tea-time in the Test match, and before either of the football games had started.

Ten Sports seems to have bitten off more than it can chew. It seems to own the rights to telecast too many different things. I think I have raised this point once earlier, but it pzzles me as to what Ten Sports is trying to achieve by getting rights to telecast so many things, most of which are happening at the same time. For example, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been unable to watch the first hour of WI-Eng even if I’d wanted to, because it was overlapping with the last hour of SA-Aus, which was being telecast at the same time.

The reason I slept off early last night was because I didn’t have the option to watch what I wanted. All the three games that I’d’ve been reasonably interested in were supposed to be on Ten Sports (Zee Sports doesn’t count since Tata Sky doesn’t offer that), and I  realized that I’d be forced to watch what the guys at the Taj Entertainment Network would want me to watch. Denied the option to choose what I wanted to watch, I went to bed.

It puzzles me that Ten Sports isn’t subletting its contracts. Devoid of anything decent to show, I suppose that ESPN or NEO would’ve only been too happy to acquire the rights to telecast last night’s Liv-Real game by paying a fee to Ten Sports. And it would’ve unlocked value at the hands of the remote-holder. Ten Sports need not let go of the rights to show all the games. All they need to do is to sell the “out of money options” – the rights to the game which they won’t be able to telecast anyway.

Now, the problem will be if accounting for all costs, no options are out of money. For example, you know you won’t be able to show Liv-Real. But you think that the loss of brand equity of your channel would exceed the money you’d gain by selling this option to another willing channel. The viewers are the only losers at this game, but I don’t know what can be done. After all, viewers  are way too dispersed in order for them to take any kind of action.

Extending this question, what can a sports body do to prevent a bidder from acquiring rights to telecast and then mess up the telecast (or not telecast it at all) ? After all, the sports body is out there to make as much money as possible from the TV rights, and they need to ensure significant investment into broadcasting by the broadcasters, so the “i’ll give rights to only those channels that are in the interest of the people” model won’t work.

One option would be to sell the rights to two channels in each market. But given that broadcast is a natural monopoly, the sports body will not be able to make as much by selling to two bidders as it can by selling to one bidder. Is there any other solution that you can think of? If yes, unleash.

5 thoughts on “Why is Ten Sports sitting on so many rights?”

  1. I have Dish. They provide Zee Sports so this isn’t a problem. But Dish doesn’t provide Neo, so we miss all the Test matches that they show (DD takes care of the ODIs) plus any domestic cricket. So I guess everyone has his own woes.

    1. is there a DTH provider who provides all sports channels? i don’t mind paying 20 bucks more per month for zee sports, actually.

  2. Exactly the same thoughts I had last week. Whatever has happened to ESPN STAR. Clearly they seem to be outbid by all and sundry. Or – they are conceding top billing to NEO Sports thinking that they stick to their Football and leverage on the abundant content they produce for the SE Asian Countries. A decision thanks to the insanely high rates SET seem to pay to win the Timepass events. After the world T20 and India’s tour of Aus, ESPN STAR has not telecast anything majorly of interest to Indian fans (SA VS AUS IN AUS excluded) . Now their position of strength in SA seems to have gone too – with TEN winning it. I thought only pakistan, srilanka and zimbabwe were with TEN. Now they have SA and WI too…
    And now ESPN have lost NZ to SET.
    What does ESPN STAR have now? Aus and Eng??? Or does bidding happen series by series nowadays???

    1. you’re right – they’re trying to stick to events that they can show across asia. only other value thing they have is the english county and australian domesitc stuff. and they have the international stuff in england also.

      but still puzzling – that they are everyone’s favoruite broadcaster, own 3 channels and still don’t put antyhing

  3. Maybe ESPN put all the eggs in one big basket and the Mumbai terrorists caused them to drop it.

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