The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has readied a contingency plan for telecast of cricket matches in India beginning October 6 in case the legal battle continues for some time.
Industry sources indicated that the loser (in the Zee vs ESPN-STAR Sports case) may move the Supreme Court, which would delay the entire process of awarding bids. They said Zee was not likely to bid afresh. BCCI may rope in a software house to produce the first three series — India-Australia, India-South Africa, and India-Pakistan. In such a scenario, these matches will be shown on Doordarshan, BCCI sources told FE.
ESPN-STAR Sports had challenged the BCCI verdict of awarding the telecast rights to Zee in Bombay High Court citing the channel’s lack of sports production experience. Members of the Zee board, which met in Mumbai on Monday to decide whether it should opt for rebidding as per the court suggestions, remained tight-lipped.
The first three series, which may be produced by BCCI under the contingency plan, will mean around 50 days of cricket till February 2005. In effect, the total number of days in the rightsholder’s calendar for the four-year telecast rights would be restricted to only 94, instead of 144, as announced by BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya a few days ago. BCCI is understood to be in talks with Channel Nine, Ten Sports and TWI for production work.
When contacted, Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma said: “BCCI has not approached us yet on the issue of telecasting the first three series.”