Bombay HC asks ZEE, ESPN to submit fresh bids

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 10, 2004
Both ESPN STAR Sports and ZEE declined to say whether they would increase the bid amount further

ZEE Telefilms has sought time from the Bombay High Court to respond to the court's proposal of submitting fresh bids for the BCCI cricket telecast rights to the court.

The ZEE move follows an ESPN STAR Sports suit filed at the Bombay High Court, challenging the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) decision to award a four year exclusive telecast contract for all official cricket matches played in India.

Thursday was the first day of hearing at the courts. On Thursday, the Mumbai High Court suggested ESPN STAR Sports and ZEE Telefilms to submit fresh bids to the Registrar General of the High Court, and said the highest bidder would bag the telecast rights of national and international cricket matches to be played in India between October 2004 and September 2008.

On this issue, Subhash Chandra's ZEE Telefilms has taken time till Tuesday (September 14) to decide whether it is agreeable to the court's proposition.

When contacted by agencyfaqs!, Rajiv Garg, head corporate strategy and finance, Essel Corporate (of the ZEE group), said that ZEE Telefilms has told the court that the company needed its board's approval and would convey its decision to ESPN STAR Sports or its attorneys by Tuesday night.

On asked whether ZEE was ready to increase the bidding amount of $308 million further, in case of a re-bid, Garg declined to say anything. "Certain issues need to be sorted out first, and a decision would be taken only after that," he said. Even ESPN STAR Sports executives were tight-lipped about the possibility of increasing its bid amount beyond $240 million.

If ZEE agreed to the court's proposal, the bids would then be submitted to the court in sealed envelopes on Wednesday, September 15, 2004.

ESPN STAR Sports, on its part, has said at the court that it was willing to participate in a final bid process, as specified by the court.

If ZEE confirmed its willingness to go by the court-specified process, there would not be any legal wranglings over issues raised by ESPN STAR Sports, and the case would be treated as withdrawn. And, in case, ZEE did not, the matter would continue to be heard by the court from Thursday onwards.

For the record, ZEE has already paid $20 million as the token amount to BCCI for the telecast rights.

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