Television

Zee's bid highest, poised to win India cricket rights

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NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Talk about pulling a rabbit out of the hat. Zee Group CMD Subhash Chandra certainly chose a mighty big one in the India cricket rights bid when his company pipped all the "fancied" rivals to the post with a Rs 12.06 billion winning punt.



Zee Group CMD Subhash Chandra: Pulling cricket rights plug on his rivals?



The tenders for the live television and radio broadcast rights for international matches to be played in India for the next four years were opened at 2:30 pm. And it was Zee's bid of Rs 12.06 billion (some numerology here?) that according to industry sources came out "ahead by a nose" of close second Sony Entertainment Television India.



There is still some due process to be followed though, which is why the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), which had called for the tenders last Saturday, cannot make any announcement just yet. Price Waterhouse Cooper, which had been mandated by the BCCI to vet all bid proposals, will complete its audit of all the bids and then submit its report.



ZEE SPORTS CHANNEL ON THE ANVIL

Barring unforeseen hiccups, Zee's bid is expected to be ratified at the BCCI working committee meeting early next week after which a formal announcement that Chandra has taken cricket's "BIG ONE" will be made. The immediate question that flows out of this of course is what will Zee do with the rights? Look forward to an announcement of the launch of Zee Sports in due course once the deal has been signed and delivered.



The telecast rights that Zee is all set to win runs from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2008.



So is this the last word on the subject. Not quite, according to a senior broadcast industry executive. There may still be some surprise twists in the tale still to unravel, he says.

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