No rights for third party: HC to BCCI

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The Bombay High Court today asked the Indian cricket board to maintain "status quo" and make a firm commitment that it would not award the contract for telecast rights to any third party until it decides on the legal dispute between Zee Telefilms Ltd and ESPN Star Sports.

In its response, the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) stated it was unable to make such a commitment. It argued that with the Australian cricket team due to land in India on 6 October to play a four test series, and in keeping with International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, the series would perforce have to be telecast. Otherwise there would be a breach of condition of affiliation with the ICC, BCCI's counsel contended, adding that the cricket matches have to be recorded for the benefit of the third umpire as well.

Chief Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud had given the direction to BCCI this morning after the board's counsel, in his opening statement, told the court that although Zee had won the bid, the contract had not yet been awarded to it.

It was in view of this statement that the court ordered the BCCI to maintain status quo. Both ESPN-Star Sports and Zee Telefilms urged the court to direct the Indian cricket board to give a firm commitment that it would not give the contract to any third party unless the telecast rights dispute was settled, a report filed by the Press Trust of India says.


The counsel for both parties pointed to reports in the media wherein BCCI supreme (and lately made patron-in-chief) Jagmohan Dalmiya is quoted as having said that in the event of the case dragging on, the board may consider giving the rights to pubcaster Prasar Bharati or make some alternative arrangements for telecast of the Australia series.

The judges said they would hear the arguments of both sides tomorrow on the petition filed by ESS challenging BCCI's decision to award the $ 308 million contract to Zee for telecast rights of cricket matches to be played between October 2004 and September 2008.

As regards the case itself, sources close to the developments say that there would be some 'dramatic revelations' made by Zee when the case comes up for hearing on the morrow.

Zee, yesterday filed an affidavit in the High Court saying that its board of directors was not agreeable to a suggestion put by the division bench for re-bidding.

Contacted by this evening, Dalmiya refused to make any comments on the court observation, but added that the working committee of the BCCI would be meeting tomorrow to take stock of the situation.


Meanwhile, some digging by has revealed interesting facts in the run-up to Zee bagging the rights and subsequently ESS contesting BCCI's decision.

From the documents filed in the court, along with an affidavit, the communication dated 6.9.2004 of PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) was allegedly pursuant to a request made by ESS letter dated 6.9.2004. ESS has stated that it has made inquiries with PwC and were categorically informed that the latter only tabulated the bids received and was not required to examine the fulfillment of requirements of condition No 2 by the tenderers.

Interestingly, clause 3.8(a) of the tender document clearly required that the bids were to be finally examined by PwC as to whether the tenderers fulfill the requirements of condition No. 2 of the tender document and only those tenderers whose bid were found to be in due compliance were to be the "qualified tenderers."

It was also pointed out that both these letters are dated 06.09.2004 and that ESS also filed the writ petition on the same day when these two letters were not a part of the original writ petition.

The letters seem to have been exchanged by ESPN Software India Limited, Building No. 22, Pushp Vihar Community Centre, New Delhi, which seems to be a company having no concern with this cricket tender process or with the writ petition before the court.

A point to be noted is that the petitioner is ESPN Star Sports (not ESPN India) and it has stated in the court that it's a registered general partnership under the laws of the US. The petitioner has also said it has a branch office in Singapore by the name of ESPN Star Sports, which is engaged in production and telecasting of sports channels, ESPN and Star Sports in various South Asian countries, including India.

The petitioner doesn't have any office/operations in India, it has been stated in the court. The present petition is filed through one Vijay Rajput, who has been duly authorised to do all things necessary for the present petition.

Several attempts made by to elicit a response from ESPN Software India on the matter proved futile today.

Another interesting fact that has come to light is that though PwC did not charge any remuneration from the BCCI for opening the sealed cricket tender bids and other professional services rendered, the audit firm, respondent No.4 in the writ petition, is the global chartered accountant firm for Disney, the parent company of ESPN. As per the Disney website, the total fees paid by Disney to PwC for rendering professional services in the last one year was approximately $ 25 million.

Latest Reads
Zee Hindustan turns anchor-less

The Zee Media Corporation Ltd, part of the Essel Group, today took a path-breaking step in television journalism by formally making its Hindi news channel Zee Hindustan anchor-less.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Aaj Tak continues to lead amid elections in BARC week 49

Aaj Tak yet again stood on top in all the three Hindi news genres in BARC week 49. Republic TV continued to dominate the English news genre. Zee News took the third position in Hindi News (U+R) after replacing ABP News which slipped down to the fourth place.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Zee Anmol leads GEC urban in BARC week 49

Star Plus climbed to the second position from fourth position as compared to the previous week in the Hindi (U+R) genre in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 49 of 2018. Star Plus and Big Magic interchanged their eighth and ninth positions in the rural market. Zee Anmol and...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Aaj Tak HD hits airwaves, available on Tata Sky

India’s leading news broadcaster Aaj Tak has announced the launch of country’s first Hindi HD news channel - Aaj Tak HD.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Uday Shankar's meteoric rise from Star India to Disney APAC

The man running India's largest media company - Star India-  has made it to the top in the Asia Pacific region at probably the world’s most admired entertainment company - Disney. Uday Shankar, who once was a reporter with The Times of India, and then went on to successfully lead news channels such...

Television TV Channels GECs
DreamWorks to launch Fight Sports and Kids+ channels

DreamWorks Channel, a Southeast Asian pay television network that is owned and operated by DreamWorks Animation International TV, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, which is a division of Comcast, has set the ball rolling to launch two new channels - Fight Sports and Kids+ Asia. It has started the...

Television TV Channels Kids
4 Star and 3 Zeel channels most watched across genres

Four channels from the Star India network, three channels from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) and one channel each from Sony Pictures Network India (SPN), the Sun TV Network, and Viacom 18 comprised the list of the top 10 channels across genres for week 49 of 2018 (Saturday, 1 December to...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Disney hoicks Uday Shankar to top job at Fox-Disney combined unit for APAC

MUMBAI - As part of the integration planning for the pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (“21st Century Fox”-NASDAQ: FOXA, FOX), the Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced plans for the strategic alignment of...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories