Zee TV Moves SC For Cricket Series Telecast Rights Email this page
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New Delhi, Oct. 1 (NNN): An aggrieved Zee Telefilms Ltd filed an application before the Supreme Court on Friday seeking telecast rights for the India-Australia Test cricket series starting from October 6.
It has also sought a direction to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to give television coverage rights to Sony TV and Ten Sports.

The Apex court has fixed Tuesday for hearing of the application.

Zee’s application followed after BCCI announced on Thursday that it would itself arrange for live telecast of international cricket matches, beginning with the India-Australia series and said Ten Sports would produce the feed while Sony Entertainment Network would be responsible for telecast, distribution and marketing.

The arrangement was to cover the four-Test series between India and Australia beginning on October 6, Platinum Jubilee one-day match between India and Pakistan on November 13 and the two-Test series between India and South Africa in November-December.

Earlier Zee TV had moved the Supreme Court challenging the BCCI's decision to cancel the telecast rights awarded to it for the cricket matches to be held in India between 2004 and 2008.

The matter is pending before a five-judge constitution bench.

Before that the BCCI's decision to award ZEE Network the right to telecast all matches in the country in the next four years has ran into legal trouble.

ESPN-Star Sports on September 6 moved the Mumbai high court challenging the action and Zee promptly filed a caveat.

"This is a very unfortunate decision and we are left with no other option but to resort to the law in an attempt to bring fair-dealing and justice to the process," Rik Dovey, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, Asia, said in a statement.

"We are very clear that ESPN STAR Sports was the highest eligible bidder under the rules of bidding specified by the BCCI and now the BCCI has changed the entire process of bidding in violation of rules set by BCCI themselves to favour our competitor by giving them an unfair advantage," he said.

R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, alleged that the BCCI changed the bidding rules unfairly.

"Zee should not have been allowed to bid in the first place. Zee does even not qualify because as it does not have any experience of broadcasting or producing live international cricket event as specified in the tender," Venkateish said.

"On Sunday the BCCI changed the rules to unfairly disadvantage our bid without giving us any further rights to bid," he added.

On the other hand, a Zee spokesperson said in Mumbai that the channel filed the caveat in order to ensure that the ESPN-Star petition was not heard ex-parte.

Earlier Zee Network was granted the telecast rights for matches to be held in the country in the next four years at $308 million, subject to it depositing a signing amount of $20 million within the next 48 hours.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, making the announcement in Chennai, said, "The Letter of Intent will be extended to Zee soon after receipt of US $20 million by the board".

Clarifying that there was no separate account for live coverage of domestic matches during the period, Dalmiya said "technically we have not awarded the rights to either of them."

"We have agreed to the condition of the signing amount to be paid and it will be provided to the BCCI before the stipulated time," said SubhashChandra, Chairman of Zee Network.

"It is an overwhelming feeling to have finally been able to seal the deal. We could share the payment schedule with the BCCI today since the match schedule for the next four years were made available to us yesterday," Chandra said.

However, later developments halted the Zee bid and the apex court ordered that the whole process be started afresh. The matter is still before the court.

In the meantime, the BCCI on Thursday announced that it would arrange for live telecast of the India-Australia series, beginning on October 6, through Sony Entertainment TV.

"Ten Sports will be handling the on the ground production while SET Max will be airing it", according to sources here.

In Kolkata, the Board's newly elected president Ranbir Singh Mahendra said: "The board has decided to produce the live telecast of the series itself, and distribution will be done by Sony TV."

Mahendra said that the Board had decided to produce the live telecast itself based on the recommendations of its marketing committee.

He also said that Ten Sports would produce live feeds for BCCI, while the "telecast, distribution and marketing" would be done by Sony on a "revenue sharing basis".

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