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Zee: Fighting a losing battle - Views on News from Equitymaster
 
 
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  • Jun 29, 2000

    Zee: Fighting a losing battle

    The telecast rights of the bid for the next two cricket World Cups and four mini World Cups have created a mini controversy. It was after the announcement by the World Sport Group (which telecast channels Star Sports and ESPN) that they had bagged the television rights that Zee’s stock has been facing the heat.

    However, the fact remains that it was always going to be next to impossible for the Zee Group to bag the rights despite the fact that it was among top bidders for 7–year international cricket rights. This was because the power equations in the International Cricket Council’s nine member managing committee were decisively in favour of the World Sports Group (WSG).

    While the three Asian countries viz. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka could be expected to vote for the Zee group, there were votes of six other countries viz. England, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, West Indies which were likely to tip the scales in favour of on the other side (WSG).

    It would be recalled that Zee group had emerged among the top three bidders (the others include WSG Nimbus and TWI) for the telecast rights. These bids ranged between $250 m to $450 m and covered two World Cups, four mini World Cups and two ICC championships. Subsequently, in the second round of bids, Zee combined with TWI (a production house, which has the television rights for cricket played in the West Indies) for a joint bid which was reportedly around $ 625m.

    The second round of bids primarily occurred after it was discovered that the bids for the telecast rights of both Zee and WSG group were the same except that the bid of the former did not include Internet money. Zee was allowed to re bid but opponents charged it with inflating its bid for the telecast rights. The Zee management however denied the charge.

    The final word has yet to be uttered in the drama. Meanwhile Zee’s sports channel has been scheduled to go on air in the first week of October when the first of the ICC’s tournaments are to be played.

     

     

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