Zee Telefilms has decided not to re-bid responding to Mumbai High Court’s suggestion of calling fresh bids for the BCCI cricket rights. The decision was taken in a board meeting on Monday and was conveyed to the court through an affidavit filed yesterday. Zee’s decision not to bid again brings the case to its initial state and the further proceedings on the same will continue on Thursday, September 16 after the Court meets for directions today.
Speaking on the development Zee Spokesperson informs that Zee Telefilms Limited Board of Directors in their meeting on September 13, 2004 firmly decided against re-bidding. Says the spokesperson, "Accordingly we have served the copies of our affidavit on the parties to the writ petition no. 2462 of 2004, pending in front of the divisional bench in Hon'ble High Court of Mumbai. The matter will come up for direction at 11 a.m. on September 15 and hearing will commence on Thursday morning."
To put things in perspective, ESPN had challenged BCCI’s decision to award the cricket telecast rights for the next four years to Zee Telefilms. ESPN filed a writ with the Mumbai High Court and the case was first heard on September 9. In this hearing, the court suggested for fresh bidding for the BCCI cricket telecast rights.
Zee had sought time to decide whether it would agree with this suggestion and was ready to re-bid for the telecast rights. The affidavit stating Zee’s position was submitted yesterday.
Centring the fray of the two channel biggies, there have been lots of vibes doing the rounds in the market. One school of thought is that ESPN intended to quote a stupendous sum of $ 500 million for the rights, which Zee had otherwise acquired for $ 308 million.
However, as per the petition, ESPN submitted, Zee was described to be ineligible, as it did not satisfy tender conditions of eligibility and that it did not possess the required two years’ experience of telecasting international cricket matches. Another point that ESPN-STAR Sports made was that it wasn’t given the opportunity to improve the bid after BCCI had negotiated the price with Zee in the second round of talks.
In case the legal battle stretches, BCCI might give the telecast rights to another channel for Australian series slotted in the beginning of October.