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Kiwis will miss out on live radio test coverage

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 03/11/2012

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Radio Sport has pulled the plug on live commentaries of New Zealand's two tests in Sri Lanka this month because of the skyrocketing cost of purchasing the rights.

It means a major cricket tour won't be broadcast live on New Zealand radio for the first time in recent memory.

The Radio Network's general manager of talk, Dallas Gurney, confirmed listeners would only receive regular studio updates of the tests in Galle, starting on November 17, and Colombo from November 25.

Veteran commentator Bryan Waddle, a regular on New Zealand tours for the past 25 years, will remain at home.

"We were unable to come to an agreement regarding the rights for the Sri Lankan tour. They were too expensive, basically," Gurney said.

He said it was a disappointing outcome, but the price Sri Lanka's board was asking "wasn't cost effective" for the network.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was told of the decision on Thursday. He said The Radio Network was put in a difficult position.

"My understanding is what they were being requested to pay was significantly more than they've ever had to pay before. It was very challenging for them commercially," he said.

"Our tour just recently to India was reasonable and not an issue, and it was covered. I don't know why in this instance it's so expensive and, hopefully, it's just a one-off."

When asked whether NZ Cricket offered financial support, White said: "It's a lot of money, way above anything they'd done before."

White planned to raise the issue at an ICC chief executives' meeting in Dubai next month and hoped that this was a one-off.

Gurney moved to allay fears that live radio commentaries of overseas tours would fade away.

"We've still got South Africa to come [in December-January] and Bryan Waddle will be going to South Africa.

"We've pretty much got the rights sorted for that. And England after that, we'll have ball-by-ball coverage of that tour as well."

Meanwhile, White confirmed NZ Cricket had pulled its funding for live internet streaming of Plunket Shield commentaries this season.

The Radio Network was flooded by complaints from listeners last year when it ceased commentaries from Plunket Shield venues, a popular feature of its summer programming in years past.

NZ Cricket stepped in earlier this year to pay for live internet streaming of commentaries, but White confirmed that that had stopped.

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