India’s first private sports channel, Zee Sports, in a three-year exclusive deal with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), has acquired rights to the Davis Cup and Federation Cup. The rights also cover the away ties featuring the Indian team.
Since the channel’s launch in May this year, this is a major acquisition for Zee Sports. Gary Lovejoy, Chief Operating Officer, Zee Sports, is delighted to be associated with these two popular tennis events and assured that Zee Sports would continue to add to its portfolio of international sports rights by announcing major deals shortly.
Said he, “Zee Sports aims to expand international coverage of sporting events for Indian viewers. Fans in India can expect coverage of the Davis Cup and Federation Cup at a level previously unavailable in India. The agreement will allow the network to take full advantage of packaging and producing programming in its own style, providing content to viewers so that they can relate to it, with a comprehensive match coverage, including daily news, highlights and analysis.”
On the distribution status, Lovejoy informed that Zee Sports had managed a strong presence in the South and they now aimed to strengthen their foothold in the Delhi and Mumbai markets among others.
“We are in constant discussions with cable operators. Within a month, Zee Sports will have a much bigger presence as we are gearing up on the marketing front,” he added.
As part of the deal with ITF, Zee Sports will show the World Group 2005 semi-final starting September 23, 2005 between Slovak Republic and Argentina, and Croatia versus Russia.
Lovejoy also mentioned that the conclusion of this agreement was of strategic importance to Zee Sports as the channel aspired to deliver programming relevant to the Indian audience.
He said, “Rights holders appreciate the value Zee Sports will bring to their product not only through having the largest audience, largest cable network but also the way we present their product to viewers in India. We want to see their property continue to grow in India and that’s why they have committed to work with us on a long-term basis.”