Lex Sportel Vision challenges Discovery’s move for control of DSport

Indian sports media company Lex Sportel Vision is challenging in court its former partner Discovery’s move last week to take full control of sports pay-television channel DSport.

DSport was launched by Discovery Asia-Pacific in 2017 in partnership with RC Venkateish, a former managing director at Indian pay-television broadcaster ESPN Star Sports and former chief executive of pay-television platform Dish TV India. Venkateish, the owner of Lex Sportel Vision, was to run the channel’s day-to-day operations.

Lex has started a case in the Delhi High Court claiming, among other things, that it owns DSport and that Discovery should be stopped from taking control of the channel and changing its name to Eurosport. News website InsideSport.co reports that the petition filed by Lex claims that Discovery “through this name change modus intends to illegally swap the channel of LEX Sports with a completely new service ‘EuroSport’”.

InsideSport.co reports that a source within Discovery told it: “It has always been our channel from the beginning. There is no dispute about that. Everything is in black and white and on record in the public domain.”

Regarding the Lex court petition, the source said: “Our legal team will look into that. All I can say that we have terminated our contract with Mr Venkateish and Lex Sports as we did not require their services. A termination notice was served in line with our contract.”

A hearing of the case has been listed for March 30.

Meanwhile, Lex intends to continue broadcasting via a new channel, branded 1Sport, according to InsideSport.co. 1Sport is to launch on February 14, the day from which Discovery is asserting full control of DSport. Lex has written to pay-television platforms in India to say it will be broadcasting content previously on DSport, including I-League football, despite the dispute with Discovery.