Sky TV's full coverage of England cricket's tour of India "is under threat because of a late demand from the Indian cricket board for fees thought to total upward of £500,000 ($800,000)" for the broadcaster's commentary team to operate within the stadiums, according to Simon Wilde of the SUNDAY TIMES. The broadcast team includes former Test captains Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton. It is thought that Sky is being "reluctant to pay an unscheduled cost." If Sky stands firm, it "may have to either take local commentary," such as former India stars Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, or get its "own team to commentate from a studio outside India." Regardless the outcome, it may be denied its "usual pitch-side discussions and player interviews at the venues." However, there is "no issue about Sky's access to a live feed of pictures from the Tests," for which it holds the U.K. rights. The Tests will begin Nov. 15 (SUNDAY TIMES, 10/21).
The BBC has "radically overhauled the voting system" for the Sports Personality of the Year award following last year's controversy about the all-male shortlist, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The victor will "still be decided by the voting public," but it has abandoned the practice of asking a wide range of newspapers and magazines to vote for their shortlist, a process that last year "led to an all-male shortlist amid heated debate over the reasons why." Instead, the initial shortlist will be decided by a panel of 12 experts including BBC execs, former nominees, newspaper sports editors and sports administrators. The BBC said it has expanded the shortlist by two to 12 due to "the unprecedented success of U.K. athletes in 2012." The show, which will be presented from London's ExCeL Centre, will feature a revamped format so that "it is a more traditional review of the year's sporting action rather than focusing exclusively on the nominees" (GUARDIAN, 10/18).
ESPN revealed it has reached a multiyear, multiplatform agreement with FIBA. The deal will include the rights to more than 400 games across six tournaments from '13-15. Events include the '13 and '15 FIBA Americas Championship, the '13 and '15 EuroBasket tournament, the '14 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the FIBA World Championship) and the '14 FIBA World Championship for Women. ESPN’s English- and Spanish-language TV rights extend throughout the U.S. and its territories, excluding Puerto Rico. ESPN previously aired the FIBA Americas Championship and EuroBasket tournament in '09 and '11, and the FIBA World Championship in '10.