The article 'Laws Governing Broadcasting of Sports in India' discusses the primary regulations, governing bodies, and key provisions that impact the broadcast of sporting events.

The article 'Laws Governing Broadcasting of Sports in India' discusses the primary regulations, governing bodies, and key provisions that impact the broadcast of sporting events.


Advancements in technology and communication have facilitated widespread internet access, enabling an unprecedented number of individuals to engage in online sports viewing. Individuals have seen increased financial gains via many means, including the sale of more clothing items, advertising revenue, ticket sales, and the acquisition of television broadcasting rights. A robust association may be shown between the sports sector and the world gross domestic product (GDP). India has a population size that is comparable to that of China. Approximately 65% of the population in that particular region consists of individuals below the age of 35.

The development of sports in India has seen significant progress throughout the years. This assertion is well shown by the sport of cricket, widely regarded as the preeminent athletic pursuit in the nation. Individuals employed in the sports industry who want to imbue sports with business-oriented principles are likely to find the concept of the market appealing.

People could make money from sports with various sports leagues. There are now many sports leagues, such as the Indian Super League, the Pro Wrestling League, the Hockey India League, and the Pro Kabaddi League. After years of hard work and money, sports TV has grown into a multibillion-dollar business.

Crores and crores of money are used in arranging the event, hosting it, paying the players, broadcasting and sponsoring these sports.

A significant number of people who participate in these sports and work in the sports industry have had their lives altered by how they are marketed and sold. However, some individuals deceive to gain an unjust advantage because the stakes are so high due to the public's extensive interests. They do things like use drugs or set games to gain more advantage. These teams need their own set of rules to make sure they work and players don't do anything wrong. We also need to keep track of how Indian sports are run.

Legal System For Sports in India

Athletes, agents, sporting organisations, and governmental regulators are subject to numerous legal jurisdictions; consequently, sports law encompasses numerous scenarios. Since sports are on item 33 of the state list, only the states have the constitutional authority to enact sports-related legislation; the federal government lacks the constitutional authority to do so.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and the Indian Olympics Association are two separate organisations tasked with overseeing sports in India. The Indian Olympic Association must operate independently from the Indian government, per the Olympic charter. The Indian Olympic Association selects the athletes who will represent India in international competitions such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and others. It is comprised of 38 governing bodies tasked with fostering national sports development. Sports training is actively promoted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and other organisations operating under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS). MYAS provides the National and State Sports Federations with financial assistance and political representation.

An examination of the Indian sports regulations would reveal that they are woefully inadequate. The Commonwealth Games debacle and the 2013 Indian Premier League match rigging/spot-fixing scandal serve as examples. These noteworthy events are not the end of the queue. The system of sports administration has been plagued by issues such as a lack of transparency, corruption, administrative failure, bias, and a dearth of resources. These sports organisations are exempt from all oversight. To construct a robust sports system, it is necessary to evaluate potential athletes, provide them with adequate training facilities, and then select the most talented candidates. There are fundamental issues with the management of Indian sports, so the governing bodies have failed.

Importance of Sports Law

Presently, India does not have all the laws that are needed to successfully rule the management and operations of sports federations and organisations. India hasn't done very well in foreign competitions like the Olympics or in famous sports like football. This has been linked to the country's bad leadership and slow progress towards change. It was 1984 when India tried to make a National Sports Policy with the goal of making sports in the whole country more morally conducted.

However, most of the time things did not turn out the way people had hoped, though. In 2001, the first form was changed so that federal, state, and local government groups could work together and organise better. So that everyone felt more welcome, the plan's main goal was to make physical education (P.E.) and sports better taught in schools.

The Commonwealth Games fiasco of 2010 revealed the deficiencies in India's athletic infrastructure. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports enacted the National Sport Development Code, 2011 to centralise all notifications and instructions pertinent to the efficient administration of National Sports Federations. It includes age and tenure requirements, annual report submission deadlines, free and fair elections, online annual calendar postings, and procedures for public selection. Numerous NSFs signed the code but did not amend their constitutions to reflect the code's requirements until the courts reprimanded them.

Several cases involving noncompliant NSFs have been presented before the courts, with the most recent being Rahul Mehra vs. Union of India, 2022, in which it was determined that noncompliant NSFs must be halted. When the administrative structure of Hockey India was dismantled in Aslam Sher Khan v. Union of India and others, 2022, the court stated, "The Government of India cannot recognise an NSF whose constitution is inconsistent with the Sports Code."

In addition, in Manika Batra v. The Table Tennis Federation of India (2022), the Indian table tennis superstar alleged that her coach pressured her to lose a match so that a player from his private coaching academy could qualify for the Olympics. The organization's "functioning is not what is expected from an NSF which has the duty to work for the welfare of sportspeople in the country," according to the court. Instead of watching out for the best interests of its athletes, the TTFI has been protecting its own officials, according to the study.

In ESPN Software Private India Ltd. v. Tudu Enterprise & Others (2011) the defendants violated broadcasting reproduction restrictions by using the plaintiff's broadcasting networking routes to showcase events to their customers without establishing lawful agreements with the distributor or the plaintiff. An appeal was selected as the means to ascertain if the defendants' conduct during the transmission through the plaintiff's network channels contravened any legal statutes. The court was tasked with assessing the appropriateness of the defendant's illegal dissemination of the plaintiff's network channels.

The Plaintiff's licensed cable operators used decoders or decryption technology that were assigned unique numbers. Furthermore, the plaintiff's illicitly transmitted sports feeds are being unlawfully captured by unauthorised cable providers. The defendants in this legal proceeding were prohibited from broadcasting the aforementioned programmes due to their failure to enter into licensing agreements with the distribution businesses representing the plaintiff, as stipulated by Section 37(3) of the Copyright Act.

Need for Laws

Bets on sporting events are not permitted under Indian law. According to a 2018 report by the Law Commission of India titled "Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting Including in Cricket in India," the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) efforts to crack down on illegal betting have failed. As a result, the paper supports legalising sports betting and gambling practices to build regulatory procedures.

The Law Commission suggests that the government's inability to strictly implement a gambling ban may be to blame for the rise of illegal funds, making comprehensive industry regulation the only viable solution. The Indian gambling industry has been estimated to be around Rs 3 lakh crore and is projected to see significant growth in the foreseeable future. Taxation on the gaming industry is necessary for the government to generate fiscal resources and impede the circulation of illicit revenues.

The safeguarding of an individual's reputation is included under the category of rights referred to as the second set. The term "image rights" as employed in this article pertains to the legal entitlement to derive financial gain from the utilisation of an individual's likeness by the general public across various media platforms.

These platforms encompass but are not restricted to, filming, live and recorded television broadcasts, live and recorded broadcasting, audio recording, motion pictures, video and electronic images, still photography, personal appearances, product endorsements, and advertising. Encompassed inside this framework are the entitlements to use an individual's identity in various media formats, including their appellation, visual representation, vocal characteristics, and biographical particulars.

For a long time, the judicial system has been the only authority in image rights concerns. Their acts are controlled by the provisions of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution concerning the right to privacy. Similarly, the Copyright Act of 1957 respects writers' and performers' moral rights, including the positive right to be recognised for their creative efforts and the negative right to prevent others from infringing on their work and destroying their reputations.

The widespread use of the Internet is expected to lead to an increase in legal issues over picture ownership. India's legal system currently lacks any explicit legislation or regulations pertaining to the protection of image rights. As a result, it would be appropriate for the government to follow this logic and alter intellectual property laws to include measures addressing image rights protection.

Transmission theft and piracy hurt the value of exclusive rights for live footage spread, which hurts the profits of sports groups that put on sporting events. Several ways are already built into national laws to stop signal theft, such as shutting down illegal websites. However, media groups have pushed for stronger global laws to protect everyone. The problem of advertising and media coverage has grown in importance as India's sports business has grown.

Sports Broadcasting: India

1. National Sports Policy 1984/2001 - The National Sports Policy was created to increase the level of sports throughout the nation. It includes a five-year review of implementation progress to determine what measures are required going ahead. The National Sports Policy 2001 was developed to build on the National Sports Policy 1984 and support faster growth of the sports sector.

Objectives of the policy - The goal of this policy is to outline the distinct tasks and obligations of the various sports authorities that contribute to the development and marketing of venues around the nation. Priorities must be established, as well as the measures that the federation must take in order to get government sponsorships and funding. To outline the conditions that the government must meet before providing financing to sports federations.

2. Sports Law and Welfare Association of India - The organisation is a professional and non-profit organisation that brings together attorneys and sportsmen with the shared purpose of developing sports in India via the use of legal concepts. It provides legal counsel on a wide range of sports-related issues, including governing body regulation, intellectual property, general sports law, defending players and sports groups in legal disputes, and more.

3. Sports Authority of India - It is India's top authority in charge of arranging sporting tournaments. It also contributes to the improvement of physical education awareness campaigns, academic courses, coaching, and scholarship programmes, all of which contribute to excellence. It provides programming at the sub-junior, junior, and senior levels to help athletes all throughout the country develop.

4. The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act was passed by parliament in 2007. The bill intends to guarantee that the greatest possible audience has free and unfettered access to nationally important sporting events by requiring the sharing of sports broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharati and for matters related to or incidental thereto. Cricket and basketball are the two most popular sports in India. This allows private broadcasters to take the lead in the sports broadcasting sector.

The potential of the Indian cricket industry in terms of sports broadcasting and marketing is tough to quantify. Indian cricket matches generate between 70% and 80% of the market's overall revenue. Major cricket competitions such as the World Cup, Champions Trophy, and others are governed by ICC rules and regulations. The network intends to boost its market share by acquiring exclusive sports rights. In 2004, Zed paid $260 million for the broadcasting rights (plus a payment of $20 million to BCCI).

The legislation's provisions were to take effect on November 11, 2005, after presidential assent on March 19, 2007. The fundamental goal of the Act, which required signal sharing with Prasar Bharati for nationally important sports broadcasts, is handled in Chapter 2. Section 3 recommends that all content owners and service providers share all national significant sports events with Prasar Bharati. Live television broadcasts should be rebroadcastable on Prasar Bharati's terrestrial and direct-to-home networks.

5. Broadcasting on TV - Doordarshan used to be the biggest name in Indian sports television, but now Star and Sony are in charge. In 2017, Star India paid Rs 16,348 crore to buy the rights to show the Indian Premier League (IPL). Since 2008, Sony had owned those rights.6.381 billion people watched up to match 35 of IPL 2021. There will soon be a third rival in this market, though. It's called Viacom18, and it is owned by 46 stations and is backed by Reliance Industries. The company recently signed multi-year deals with the Abu Dhabi T10 Cricket League and the Spanish La Liga football league.

6. Broadcasting on radio - All India Radio (AIR), India's public terrestrial radio station, is the only one allowed by law to provide live coverage of both foreign and local sports events. Since private radio stations can't offer live sports coverage on their broadcast radio channel, AIR is behind the times when it comes to changing public standards and customer habits.

7. Broadcasting via texts - Fans should be able to get match information easily, and text message streaming is one more way to do that. Yes, we're talking about sending match reports, live score cards, and score alerts through services like SMS and MVAS.

8. OTT Platforms -In the realm of content consumption on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, sports emerged as the most popular category in 2020. During the global prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereby individuals were confined to their homes, several firms, like Hotstar, SonyLiv, and Amazon, introduced a novel business strategy. The subscriber base of Disney+ Hotstar had significant growth, mostly attributed to the live broadcasting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2020.

The first match of the 2020 season of the league garnered a substantial number of concurrent viewers, reaching into the millions. The user's text is not clear and does not contain enough information to be rewritten in a Moreover, the viewership of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) amounted to 6.7 million throughout the first half. The aforementioned over-the-top (OTT) channel also televised the 2021 T20 men's World Cup, garnering a peak viewership of 12 million individuals during the highly anticipated India-Pakistan match. The number 14. The success of the platform has been significantly influenced by the presence of cricket, as Star India has strategically acquired rights to many local and niche sports.

SonyLIV, an over-the-top (OTT) platform, has been the home of several international cricket tours including the Indian team, as well as prominent events such as FIFA. The company has furthermore acquired exclusive streaming rights for WWE content, catering specifically to its audience in India. Amazon Prime Video made its first into the realm of live sports broadcasting through the acquisition of territorial rights for New Zealand Cricket in the India region, spanning the period from 2025 to 2026. Numerous platforms have initiated negotiations with tournament organisers for future tournaments.

9. “NSDCI” refers to India's National Sports Development Code of 2011. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports ("Ministry") established NSDCI with the following primary goals:

a. To outline the roles that different sports-related organisations play in advancing the industry[1];

b. To specify the National Science Foundations that fall within the purview of these rules, to establish priorities, and to spell out the steps to be taken by the Federations in order to receive government funding and support[2];

c. To lay out the requirements for receiving official approval and funding[

10. The Copyright Act, 1957 and Trademarks Act of 1999 - Unauthorised broadcasting is seen to be a violation of Section 51 of the Copyright Act of 1957. Due to the progress of technology, athletic activities are now globally disseminated via broadcasting platforms. Initially, the Copyright Act did not include the rights of broadcasters and artists. In the year 1994, Sections 37 and 38 underwent repeal, while a new provision was included to safeguard the rights of artists and broadcasters

11. Competition Act of 2002 - Such activities are expressly forbidden by the Act :

  • Getting an unfair advantage over the competitors
  • Corporate anti-competitive practices and agreements struck behind closed doors
  • Cartels monopolise business and the bidding process.

12. Labour Laws - It is crucial to remember that all NSFs, organisations, and so on hire people to carry out their obligations or to operate in order to achieve their aims. All such NSFs and other entities must abide by all Indian labour laws. Apart from this all labour law codes and acts apply to sports regulations and people working in this field.


The protection of rights in the sports broadcasting industry primarily revolves around safeguarding the rights of broadcasters and the broadcasting of athletic events. Due to their significant financial worth, live sports events cannot be disregarded or managed in a manner that would undermine the whole industry. The reluctance to place monetary wagers on a sporting event stems from the perceived inability to safeguard one's rights in the case of unauthorised use of the broadcaster's rights.

The importance of enacting comprehensive legislation to address fundamental concerns within the existing governmental structure cannot be overstated. It is imperative for sports federations and authorities to establish an election committee to safeguard the integrity and fairness of electoral procedures. Furthermore, the establishment of a specialised court dedicated solely to resolving legal matters related to sports is necessary.

The legal framework should adequately tackle issues concerning doping, age falsification, gender bias, and preferential treatment. Another crucial aspect is devising a strategic framework for the allocation of funds among various entities and federations. In conclusion, the integration of Panchayati Raj institutions and training institutes is vital for the development of sports infrastructure at the grassroots level.


[1] Relevance of Sports Law in India, Available Here

[2] Broadcasting and Media Rights in Sports Law, Available Here

[3] Laws regulating Sports Broadcasting in India, Available Here

[4] Sports Broadcasting in India: All You Need to Know, Available Here

[5] Laws Sports Governing in India, Available Here

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Sanjoli Verma

Sanjoli Verma

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