Zee's challenge: football to rival cricket in India

After the official announcement of his company's 10-year exclusive television broadcasting deal with the All India Football Federation, in Delhi today, Zee Telefilms' managing director, Subhash Chandra, said he is no longer interested in cricket "as the value of the game has come down considerably.” He added, jocularly, “I hope we don’t emerge as the highest bidder.”

Chandra, sharing the dais with Indian football boss Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, said, “India is a cricketing nation, not a sporting nation. It’s time the country embraces other games, like football, in a big way.” Zee will take up the cause of football in India as “challenge” and his various media properties, including DNA (a newspaper in association with the Bhaskar group), will be used to popularise and market the game.

Under the terms of contract Zee Sports will not only broadcast the matches, but will also market all the domestic tournaments of AIFF, including Federation Cup, Santosh Trophy, National Football League and Super Cup. Indian Television reported broadcast industry sources the deal is for five years, extendable by another five years. The sources hinted that the price is approximately Rs 1 billion for the initial five-year period with a 25 per cent minimum guarantee from Zee on an annual basis.

In the first year, Zee Sports will telecast approximately 100 matches live from all the major domestic football tournaments with a minimum guarantee of 70 matches. Zee Sports will create a distinctive identity for every domestic tournament to drive fan support across the country, apart from creating unique logos for every tournament, thematic ad campaigns and merchandise like T-shirts.

See also: Zee Sports wins TV rights to Indian football (9 Sept 2005)