DD sitting pretty as Zee, ESS battle it out

NEW DELHI: As ESPN-Star Sports and Zee Telefilms slug it out for the Indian cricket rights, another party, apart from the Indian cricket board, that is quietly sitting outside the slugfest arena and smiling away is pubcaster Doordarshan.

It knows that irrespective of who gets the rights, the feeds would be shared with DD, which would give the organisation an option to dip into some additional revenue in hard times.

Though Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma would not divulge the financial details, but he did admit yesterday, "We may just end up striking a better deal with Zee (for the Indian cricket rights) if it manages to finally outbid ESPN-Star Sports in view of the ongoing court case."

A Zee Telefilms spokesperson refused to make any comments on cricket-related issues as the case was sub-judice, but expressed "full faith" in the country's judicial system.

Prasar Bharati sources also indicated that the organization may up the minimum guarantee that the successful bidder would now have to give DD, in contrast to a deal that was inked with ESS before the bidding process took place.

As per a deal with ESS, had it got the BCCI rights, it would have given DD the signals free, done the marketing for DD and also paid the pubcaster around Rs 12.5 million per ODI in the first year, Rs 15 million in the second year, Rs 17.5 million in the third year and Rs 2 million in the fourth year as minimum guarantee. Of course, there was a revenue sharing on advertising money in the ratio of 80:20 with ESS keeping the lion's share.

For the ICC Champion's trophy, which kicked off today and is being telecast on SET Max, DD has worked out a similar deal, according to Prasar Bharati sources. World Sport Nimbus would be paying DD a sum of Rs 7.5 million per ODI.

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