Zee Telefilms has decided not to rebid for BCCI’s cricket telecast rights, as suggested by the Bombay High Court. The decision was taken at a Zee Telefims board meeting yesterday and conveyed to the court today.
Zee’s decision to not bid again brings the case to its initial state and further proceedings will continue on Thursday, September 16. Court will be meeting for directions tomorrow, Wednesday, while the hearing on the case starts the day after.
To put things in perspective, ESPN had challenged BCCI’s decision to award the cricket telecast rights for the next four years to Zee Telefilms. ESPN filed a writ in the Bombay High Court and the case was first heard on September 9, 2004. In that hearing, the court suggested that fresh bids be called for the cricket rights.
Zee had sought time until today to decide whether it agreed with the suggestion for a rebid. The affidavit stating Zee’s position was submitted today afternoon.
In the last few days many rumours have been doing the rounds. One school of thought is that ESPN intended to quote a stupendous sum of $ 500 million for the rights, which Zee had acquired for $ 308 million.
The petition that ESPN submitted pointed out that Zee was not eligible, as it did not satisfy the tender conditions on eligibility and that it did not possess the required two years’ experience of telecasting cricket matches of international level. Another point that ESPN-STAR Sports made was that it wasn’t given the opportunity to improve the bid after BCCI had negotiated the price with Zee in the second round of talks.
In case the legal battle stretches, BCCI might give the telecast rights to another channel for the Australia series starting early October.