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3-way race for cricket rights

New Delhi, Nov. 10: Zee Sports, TEN Sports and ESPN-STAR Sports have bid for the global telecast and marketing rights to the International Cricket Council’s matches from 2007 to 2015. These include the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, which had queered the pitch for Indian contenders by signalling that it might bid itself, pulled out. “We were bidding,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said, adding the decision not to enter the fray was taken to prevent “a conflict of interest”.

Zee Sports’ head Himanshu Mody said his group had entered the bidding, taking place in Dubai. The industry was agog with reports Nimbus had also waded in, but there was no confirmation.

ESPN-STAR managing director in India, R.C. Venkateish, said his company was keen on the rights.

TEN Sports, the Dubai-based broadcaster, is also in the running.

The current ICC broadcasting deal with Global Cricket Corporation — a Rupert Murdoch venture — expires after the 2007 World Cup.

Many are predicting the winning bid could touch $1 billion, almost twice the $532 million the Murdoch company had paid.

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