Indian cricket returns to the airwaves with AIR deal

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has agreed a two-year deal that will return national team and domestic cricket to the airwaves of All India Radio for the first time since 2014.

The agreement will commence with Sunday’s first game of the Twenty20 series between India and South Africa in Dharamsala. It will run through to August 31, 2021.

Along with home international matches, AIR will provide coverage of a host of men’s and women’s domestic tournaments and matches. This will include the Ranji Trophy final, and games in the Women’s Challenger Series, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, the men’s Irani Cup and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

AIR is part of public-broadcasting agency Prasar Bharati, with whom the BCCI has been at loggerheads over radio rights to Indian cricket. This has meant there has been no coverage since 2014.

BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri told the ESPNcricinfo website that the agreement entails a 50:50 revenue share, with Prasar Bharati responsible for the commercial aspect as well as paying the commentators.

“Radio is a very strong medium and it was one of the pieces that was missing in our engaging our audience,” Johri added. “Cricket being the life blood of India, we believe radio will play a big role in taking cricket to the masses.”