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Zee walks out of the five-year telecast deal with BCCI

31-May-2007
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Zee walks out of the five-year telecast deal with BCCI

The upcoming ‘Future Cup’ has already faced a setback with broadcaster Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL) pulling out of the telecast deal with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). The cancellation of the five-year deal, signed last year and covering only offshore matches, worth around $ 200 million comes after the sports channel asked the board for re-negotiation of the price.

According to the new act on sports broadcasting, it is mandatory for every broadcaster to share live feed with national broadcaster Doordarshan, without advertisements. ZEEL asked BCCI to revisit the deal signed last year on the basis of this Bill and its implications. However, BCCI was has not reverted to ZEEL for some time now and that triggered the broadcaster to step out.

Ashish Kaul, Sr VP, Zee Group, elaborated more on this, citing BCCI’s attitude for this fall-out. He said, “We have pulled out of this deal mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, when the contract was signed with BCCI, it was based on an exclusive basis. With the Sports Broadcast Bill in place now, it will have an impact on our revenues due to the feed sharing with DD.”

“Secondly, as all these matches are held off-shore, we would have to write-off our subscription revenues. We have been writing to the BCCI on this for months now, but the BCCI has not even acknowledged our requests,” Kaul added.

Zee’s rue doesn’t end there. Kaul further stated, “Meanwhile, we heard from media reports that BCCI has decided to give a hefty discount to

Nimbus owing to the losses arising due to the Sports Broadcast Bill. They have not even bothered to discuss this issue with us.”

As is known, Nimbus holds the telecast rights for matches played in India till 2008-09. The deal, comprising 25 Indian matches at neutral venues, included the three ODIs against South Africa in Ireland and a single match with Pakistan in Scotland. For the record with the new sports bill, all sports channels in the country want encryption of the live feeds because un-encrypted signals of Doordarshan are also received in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Malaysia, and may result in loss for sports broadcasters.

Sources, close to the development also indicate that the fall-out was in the coming also because Zee's recent launch of the Indian Cricket League has not gone down well with the BCCI bosses. The officials of course are not commenting on this.

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