Zee Sports yet to sign up with Mumbai's major MSOs

MUMBAI: Zee Sports, which was available to viewers in Mumbai for the India-West Indies cricket match, is once again blacked out from the major cable networks in Mumbai today evening.

“Major operators in Mumbai have still not reached an agreement for continuation of signals for the sports channel. Since the operators are being stubborn and are not agreeing to sign the agreement, we are being compelled to switch off the channel on defaulting networks,” says Zee Turner CEO Arun Poddar.

Counters Cable Operators and Distributors Association (CODA) vice-president Ravi Singh, "If we have not signed the agreement, how can we be turned as defaulters? Zee Sports is asking us to pay for an unreasonable subscriber base."

Zee Turner had restored the signals of Zee Sports channel early in the day on assurance from MSOs like Hathway Cable & Datacom and Incablenet that they would be signing the pay channel agreement in Mumbai.

In a meeting with major operators held in Mumbai, the operators had to discuss and sign the pay channel subscription agreement and had requested Zee Turner to allow the signals for today’s India-West Indies match. Considering the request from cable operators, Zee Turner had allowed the signals of Zee Sports to these networks in Mumbai, says Poddar. “The operators that have already signed the agreement will continue to get the signals for rest of the matches on Zee Sports,” he adds.

CODA had an internal meeting in the afternoon but could not agree to Zee Sports demand. "The channel does not have telecast rights to any major event after this. If we can withstand the pressure over the next few days, we needn't yield to their demands," says a CODA member. The DLF tri-series will last till 24 September.

Zee Sports, which has bought the telecast rights from BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for cricket matches to be played by India in non cricket playing countries over the next five years, will be showing the India-Australia match on Saturday.

The channel, however, is back on cable networks in Pune after the Pune District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Zee Sports to restore the signals till further hearings on 21 September. "We have restored the signals in Pune following the order. The next hearing comes up on 21 September," a Zee Turner spokesperson confirms.

Zee Sports is also available in Chennai as SCV signed a commercial agreement with the channel for the conditional access system (CAS) market. The channel, however, is blacked out in other parts of Tamil Nadu where SCV has not signed up.

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