The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited Subhash Chandra-controlled Zee Telefilms — the highest bidder for the four-year cricket telecast rights, and ESPN Star Sports — the second highest bidder— for a final round of discussions. The meeting will be held on September 4 at Chennai and the final winner will be announced on September 5.
A Zee Telefilms spokesperson confirmed the development. RC Venkatesh, managing director of ESPN-Star Sports, told Business Standard , “We have been invited by BCCI to present a clarification on our bid. We are open to any kind of negotiations that will enable us bag the deal.”
Zee Telelfilms’ bid of $260 million (Rs 1,206 crore) emerged as the highest bid. ESPN had bid $230 million and had expressed its willingness to increase it to around $300 million if BCCI extended the offer to five years from four.
ESPN-Star Sports alleged that Zee did not qualify for the bidding process as it did not meet the board’s criterion of two years’ experience in telecasting international cricket events.
Zee officials, however, refuted the charge and argued that they have telecast international cricket matches in countries like the UK since 1995. This triggered a controversey and BCCI decided to take a look at the bids and seek further clarification from the bidders.
The other bidders included Sony TV at $140 million and Ten Sports at $115.