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BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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West Indies’ tour of Bangladesh will not be shown free to air on CBC.
And the subsequent India series could follow suit.
Regional sports broadcast carriers Sportmax have not offered a package to the Caribbean’s local television stations to air any of the six matches of the Bangladesh tour following the lack of demand for West Indies cricket.
Sportsmax chief executive officer Oliver McIntosh disclosed the news in a telephone interview with WEEKENDSPORT after it was discovered that CBC was not approached to buy the rights for the series.
“Sometimes we offer it and sometimes we don’t, but this isn’t dissimilar to what we have done in the past,” said McIntosh of the decision not to show the Bangladesh series free to air.
“Generally, cricket has migrated away from free-to-air television and gone to cable and more specifically subscription cable due to the length and time of cricket matches.
“Plus, it’s not as if there is a high demand for West Indies cricket right now,” he added.
It means that Sportsmax will be the only sports channel in the region that will broadcast the three Tests, two One-Day Internationals (ODI) and the lone T20 match in Bangladesh, starting on October 11.
The last West Indies overseas tour that was televised free to air on CBC was the one to Australia two years ago.
Even this year’s World Cup wasn’t shown in full, as none of the preliminary matches not involving the regional side were televised free to air.
And the India tour could suffer the same fate, as McIntosh was noncommittal about his company’s plans on offering a package to the Caribbean stations for the three-Test, five-ODI tour later this year.
“We have to sit down and think about this, but we haven’t made any decision concerning the India series,” acknowledged McIntosh.
CBC general manager Rodwell London had earlier revealed that the station was not bringing the Bangladesh series as the corporation was not even approached about buying the rights for the tour.
However, cricket fans across the Caribbean can follow both tours on radio.
Yesterday at a Press conference at the Legends Headquarters in Fontabelle, executives of the Line & Length Network announced a sponsorship deal with mobile tele-communications giant Digicel, Tetley Tea and Caribbean Dreams Water, to bring “live” radio coverage of the tours through a partnership with rights holders Sportsmax.
A commentary team, featuring the likes of former Test cricketers, Courtney Walsh, Jeffrey Dujon and Robert Samuels will be assembled in the Sportsmax’s studio in Jamaica to provide ball-by-ball radio coverage.
Line & Length’s managing director Barry?Wilkinson said 15 radio stations across the region, including the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s 94.7 FM, had already signed on to bring the coverage.
Wilkinson said there will also be radio coverage of this month’s Regional Super50 in Guyana when another legendary West Indian cricketer, fast bowler Curtly Ambrose, and his former teammate Roger Harper will be part of the commentary team, headed by commentator Andrew Mason. (JM/EZS)