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ZEEL sports biz stays EBITDA positive for second straight quarter

MUMBAI: Helped by the absence of high-cost sporting rights, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has managed to register operating profit from its sports business for the second consecutive quarter.

For the quarter ended 30 June, ZEEL’s operating profit (EBITDA) from sports business stood at Rs 1.2 crore (Rs 12 million). Revenue stood at Rs 976 million (Rs 97.6 crore).

As Ten Sports has no cricket series involving India in the next 12 months, the sports business expenses are not expected to shoot up this fiscal. However, there could be a rise in acquisition cost of WWE rights. The telecast rights for this property is up for renewals.

ZEEL expects the sports losses to be under Rs 1 billion (Rs 100 crore) in FY15.

ZEEL’s sports business had turned around in the trailing quarter, showing EBITDA profit of Rs 351 million (Rs 35.1 crore) for the first time in four years. The sport segment had delivered revenue of Rs 1.96 billion (Rs 195.9 crore) while expenses stood at Rs 1.61 billion (Rs 160.8 crore).

ZEEL’s sports broadcast business includes subsidiary Taj Television, which owns and operates Ten Sports, Ten Cricket, Ten Action, Ten Golf and Ten HD.

During the quarter, the sporting properties on the channels included West Indies vs New Zealand cricket series, Wrestlemania and UEFA Europa League.

In the second quarter, it will telecast cricket series between West Indies and New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa, and Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It also has rights to the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, US Open and Tour De France.