Zee Telefilms scraps BCCI deal

New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
BCCIs mega bucks plans suffered a jolt today as Zee Telefilms, that bought 5-year rights for the cricket boards offshore fixtures, scrapped the deal after failing to get compensation for the revenue losses suffered due to sharing of content with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

We have scrapped the deal as BCCI has not acknowledged our requests for a meeting to rework the $220 million deal, similar to what has been done for Nimbus, an Essel Group spokesperson told FE. BCCI officials were not available for comment.

Zee claims that domestic rights holder Nimbus has managed to get a Rs 60 crore discount from the BCCI as a compensation for the telecast sharing with Prasar Bharatis Doordarshan. We have also sought similar compensation in several letters sent to the BCCI. However, since they did not acknowledge our requests, we have decided to scrap the deal, he said.

Zees going back on the deal puts a question mark over the telecast of the India-South Africa cricket series in Ireland due to begin in June-July later this year. Kaul said Zee was open to renegotiate the agreement if the BCCI agreed to cut down on the deal. If they are ready to renegotiate, we are open to discuss it afresh, he said.

Zee has announced its withdrawal in a letter to BCCI president Sharad Pawar. Analysts say Zee would also been prompted to take such a harsh action as it is uncertain on making any revenues from Indias fixtures in such locations, following the general downtrend in cricket advertising after the teams poor performance at the World Cup.

BCCI had awarded the global media rights for all matches played by India on neutral territory to Zee last year, giving it rights for TV, radio and Internet rights. The media rights tender was for a minimum of 25 games and the new venues included Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Holland, the US, the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. BCCI's telecast rights holders have been haggling for a fee cut after the government passed a legislation this year, making it mandatory for sports broadcasters to share feed of Indian team's one-day matches with DD and also its free-to-air DTH platform.