ESPN-Star Sports has claimed that Hathway has not made payments due to them since July 2009. The outstanding amount is reportedly in excess of Rs 16 crore. Both ESPN-Star Sports and Hathway had signed a two-year contract in July 2007, which ended on July 22, 2009.
It is also learnt that Hathway is yet to renew its contract, however, ESPN has already switched off its signals in key networks like Bangalore City, Thane, Dombivli and in parts of Mumbai. Nevertheless, a nationwide notice was issued on November 10, 2009, warning the MSO that it would switch off the signals with effect from December 1, 2009.
In conversation with exchange4media, Makrand Palekar, Associate Vice President, Affiliate Sales, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, “This time it has crossed all levels of tolerance for us, because excess of Rs 16 crore of outstanding dues (on an all India basis) is huge. We, however, continued to provide them with our service even after the expiry of our contract, which ended on July 22, 2009, following which we continued our services hoping that they would pay and the contract would get renewed, which has not happened so far.”
“We have reached a level where no business would reach this kind of outstanding, plus our contract is not getting renewed, therefore, we have decided to finally call it a day. ESPN has already switched its signals off currently in key networks – Bangalore City, Thane, Dombivli and some parts of Mumbai. A nationwide notice has been issued on November 10, 2009 warning the MSO of switching off the signals with effect from December 1, 2009,” Palekar added.
Hathway officials could not be contacted at the time of filing the report despite repeated attempts. The ESPN-Hathway conflict is not a new one and the tussle between the two dates back to 2004, when ESPN had switched off signals to Hathway in Mumbai for similar reasons.