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Zee Sports wins TV rights for Test series

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Zee Sports has won the cable and satellite television rights for the three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka starting in Chennai on Friday. The terrestrial rights have been granted to Doordarshan.

Friday's match will be available on DD National as well as Zee Sports from 9.30 a.m. DD will conduct its Fourth Umpire programme from 8.30 a.m.

In a release on Thursday, Zee Sports business head Himanshu Modi said, "At an open and transparent meeting with the BCCI, in which all bidders were present, we managed to secure the rights for the series."

According to sources in Zee Sports, its bid was the highest at $4.24 million. ESPN-STAR bid $4.1 million. The deal enables the board to earn Rs. 19.5 crores from Zee.

Compared to the previous regime's deal with TWI for $1.052 million, the new BCCI set-up managed to scale the production cost down to $9,77,000. The international rights were earlier given for a revenue share of 80-20 with Nimbus but the new deal stands at 85-15.

The newly elected BCCI office-bearers clinched the deal within a couple of hours of a teleconference on Thursday afternoon, when the bids were invited.

"With the must-carry guideline in force, Doodarshan going to telecast the match irrespective of which network gained the satellite rights," a DD spokesman said. "We were also invited to bid for the satellite rights, but we didn't," he added.

The fact remains that DD could lose out on revenue since slots would have been booked for telecast on its terrestrial as well as satellite channels.