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Sri Lanka’s Carlton Sports Network set for comeback

Sri Lankan terrestrial broadcaster Carlton Sports Network Television (CSN) is set to resume operations, five years after having its license blocked by the government.

CSN launched in 2011 and a year later acquired rights to matches played by the Sri Lanka national cricket team. The rights were previously held by state broadcaster Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.

In 2015, the new Sri Lankan government blocked CSN’s license and the cricket rights were returned to Rupavahini Corporation.

It has now emerged that another change in government is set to lead to the reinstatement of CSN’s license. Rohan Welivita, a former director of CSN, told the EconomyNext website that work “has begun to restart the channel as soon as possible”.

Earlier this week, the government withdrew objections to the running of CSN, which had filed an application with the Appeals Court against an order issued by the former government to cancel its licence.

As a result, Sri Lanka’s media ministry and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has given CSN the green light to resume operations.

It has been reported that CSN may look to enter into a profit-sharing deal with Channel Eye, a youth and sports channel, which is operated by Rupavahini Corporation.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s global media rights remain on the market after an invitation to tender was issued in February.

The board is understood to have been unsatisfied with the bids it received in response to the tender. It is selling its rights for a three-year period from this year – whenever cricket resumes post-Covid-19 – through to 2023.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s international media rights have historically been acquired by Indian broadcasters, with that market accounting for most of their value. Pay-television broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India is the current rights-holder, in a seven-year deal running from 2013 to end-March 2020.