labels: espn software india , entertainment, zee group
BCCI''s bidding criteria not met : HC news
20 September 2004

The division bench of the court, comprising the Board of Control for Cricket in India, DC Bhandari, and justice DY Chandrachud, made this observation in response to Zee Telefilms Ltd''s counsel Harish Salve''s arguments that no broadcaster is completely involved in the production of live cricket, including ESPN-Star Sports.

Justice Chandrachud told Salve that such a line of argument would render both the contending parties, ESPN-Star Sports and Zee Telefilms, ineligible to bag the rights to broadcast the matches.

Salve''s arguments were in response to the point raised earlier by Iqbal Chagla, counsel for ESPN-Star Sports, that Zee had failed to fulfil the eligibility criteria as laid down in the bid tender of BCCI.

Salve explained that although ESPN-Star Sports has been broadcasting live cricket matches, it had not been involved in the production of these matches barring the Asia Cup for which it produced and telecast the matches. For most other matches telecast by ESPN-Star Sports, the production had been carried out by Trade Mark, TWI, World Sport Nimbus, Sunset & Vine. He also said there was a lacuna in the bid of ESPN-Star Sports. "If ESPN-Star Sports had entered into co-production in many of the cricket matches, it has not mentioned the terms of co-production in the bid documents," he said.

According to Salve, Zee has been "successfully" telecasting live cricket matches internationally as a licensee. Zee has a presence in 88 countries. According to him, the tender document had specified the condition that bidding entities should have own existing in-house production, telecasting units, channel network and have successfully telecast matches of international standard for at least two years.

He said this was the first time a home-grown Indian broadcasting company had bid for cricket rights. "India is the largest commercial market for cricket in the world and 80 per cent of resources come from India," he told the Court.

While ESPN-Star Sports has had the major share of cricket telecast, Zee has also been telecasting live cricket matches by obtaining signal from the main rights owner.

Salve said that BCCI had indicated it has no problem with Zee''s bid and as Zee has emerged as the highest bidder, the rights should be granted to Zee. I Chagla contended SAB TV''s point that ESPN-Star Sports is a foreign entity by saying that Zee Telefilms also had its offices in the US and the UK. SAB TV had filed an intervention application on this petition on Thursday.

BCCI, which was to take up arguments after ESPN-Star Sports, has sought some time. Supreme Court lawyer KK Venugopal is expected to argue for BCCI on Monday.

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BCCI''s bidding criteria not met : HC