History of Indian DD Sports
The former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee launched DD Sports, a satellite-delivered sports channel, on March 8, 1999. In the beginning, it broadcast sports programmes for 6 hours a day, which was increased to 12 hours in 1999. From 1st June 2000, DD Sports became a 24 hour satellite channel. MODI Entertainment Ltd (MEL) obtained a stay order on 25th March 2006, from the Delhi High Court against any speculated unilateral move by Doordarshan (DD) to make DD Sports a free-to-air channel protecting its agreement with DD Sports and its subscribers. The channel continues to broadcast events conducted by the various Sports Federations and Association.
Prasar Bharati had been planning to convert its sports channel to a free-to-air one. An arbitration panel had already been constituted to look into the concerns of both MEL and DD. DD Sports was an encrypted pay channel for a while, (between 2000 and 2003) and on 15th July 2003 it turned free, to become the only free-to-air Sports Channel in the country.
Programmes of Indian DD Sports
The first event to be carried on the channel was a friendly cricket match between national level Indian cricketers. The state-owned broadcaster had relied on private firms to help it acquire rights to sports events for DD Sports. DD Sports also telecasted, live, the closing ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. For the one-day international (ODI) matches, in the year 2005, a 10-second spot on DD (Doordarshan) National and DD Sports was available for Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh respectively. But the pricing varied during the later years. According to Media planners the differential pricing was because DD Sports reaches out to a more affluent target group and the penetration of the cable industry in the metros is very good. It has also aired the Asian games and Olympic Games.
Besides telecasting live important sporting events like Cricket, Football, Tennis etc., DD Sports showcases Indian sports including Kabaddi, Kho-kho, Indian wrestling, aquatics etc. In addition to the international sporting events, important national tournaments of Hockey, football, Athletics, Cricket, Swimming, Tennis, Badminton, Archery and Wrestling are also telecast. The DD Sports channel also telecasts news-based programmes (Sports Hour), sports quiz and personality oriented shows.
During the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, DD Sports launched its HDTV version. It uses 1080i or 720p format with 16:9 aspect ratio.