The willow war of channels turns more interesting. While ESPN Star Sports has taken the battle to the court, challenging BCCI nod to giving Zee the broadcast rights for the next four years of international cricket in India, Zee has deposited the initial $ 20 million – as per conditions made by the Board. And, the bank guarantee of $ 75 million would be paid up once the contract is signed.
Ashish Kaul, spokesperson for Zee, said, “The initial amount of $ 20 million has been paid and a draft agreement has been sent to BCCI for the signing of the contract, in the event of which the bank guarantee of $ 75 million also will be paid up to close the deal.”
Referring to the progress of the case filed with the Mumbai High Court, Himanshu Verma, spokeperson of ESPN Star Sports, said, “All the three parties (Zee, ESPN and BCCI) have been asked to present more information and the hearing has been scheduled on Thursday.”
Progressive action is taking place on all fronts, and it remains to be seen how things will shape up for Zee and ESPN Star Sports. In anticipation of wining the bid, the latter had already signed up an agreement with Doordarshan on telecast of cricket matches. Now Zee will have to start that process with Doordarshan.
Zee is also working on the naming of its new sports channel scheduled for launch in October. The name is likely to be finalised tomorrow. Zee is also in talks with Turner and Ten Sports for the launch of the sports channel. As per sources in Zee, a decision is expected in a couple of days.