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ESPN STAR Sports hell-bent on taking BCCI to the cleaners

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 07, 2004
Rupert Murdoch's network is stung by the BCCI decision to award ZEE the coveted contract


ESPN STAR Sports announced on Monday that it has challenged BCCI's decision to award conditional allotment of telecast rights for all cricket matches to be played in India to ZEE Network at the Mumbai High Court. & #BANNER1 & # agencyfaqs! had earlier reported that ESPN STAR Sports is seriously considering taking BCCI to the courts.

Announcing the move, Rik Dovey, managing director, ESPN STAR Sports, Asia said, "Unfortunately, we are left with no other option but to resort to the law in an attempt to bring fair-dealing and justice to the process. ESPN STAR Sports was the highest eligible bidder under the rules of bidding specified by the BCCI, and now the BCCI has changed the entire process of bidding in violation of rules set by BCCI itself to favor our competitor by giving them an unfair advantage."

Explaining the rationale of taking a legal recourse, R C Venkateish, managing director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, "As described in the terms of the BCCI tender document, ZEE should not have been allowed to bid in the first place. ZEE does not qualify because it does not have any experience of broadcasting or producing live international cricket event as specified in the tender. Clearly the required technical evaluation of the bids has not been carried out.

"On Sunday, the BCCI changed the rules to unfairly disadvantage our bid without giving us any further rights to bid," Venkateish added.

Highlighting ESPN STAR Sports contribution towards telecasting sports, Venkateish, said, "ESPN STAR Sports is a leader by a mile in sports broadcasting in India. We have the rights to showcase most of the important properties across a variety of disciplines like soccer, hockey, golf, tennis and an unparalleled amount of cricket."

"In cricket, we have already done 14,822 hours of 'live' international telecast (till August 31, 2004), besides 4,176 hours of cricket-related programming. The current format of cricket coverage, almost a template now, was conceived by ESPN STAR Sports," he added.

"We have continually innovated to ensure maximum enjoyment for the largest number of viewers across the country. During the 'IndianOil Asia Cup 2004', our in-house production crew, of over 100, was involved in the pioneering effort of simultaneously telecasting tournament matches in Hindi and in English."

Venkateish said, the Hindi telecast would further spread the game into the interiors of the country. ESPN STAR Sports said it was continuing the trend with the simultaneous telecast effort during the NatWest Challenge as well. We will continue to make telecast on ESPN STAR Sports more entertaining and also benefiting the game at the same time.

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