Zee has pulled out of its $219 million, five-year, broadcast deal with the Indian cricket board. The contract, for telecasting India matches played at all offshore (non-Test) venues, was the biggest deal per game in the history of cricket.
Straightaway, this means that the India-South Africa series in Ireland next month is in real danger of being called off. The Board has to find another broadcaster really fast now, and that may not be the easiest thing to do. Board sources told HT the series could not be played without it being telecast.
Ashish Kaul, senior VP (marketing) of Essel Group, the company that owns Zee, told HT they had no choice but to pull out. "We scrapped the deal as it was the only way left. The losses were too much to bear and it had a direct impact on our revenues," Kaul said.
Board secretary Niranjan Shah was unwilling to "comment on Wednesday". Lalit Modi, the face of the Board's marketing committee, was unavailable.