Zimbabwe fans miss out on TV coverage of home Tests against New Zealand
Technical defect and broadcast deal issues cited as major reasons
In what could be a major embarrassment for Zimbabwe Cricket board (ZC), the ongoing Test series at home against New Zealand is not being telecast by any broadcaster in the country.
ESPNCricinfo reported that the state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has been provided with the feed. However, the agency is currently undergoing a technical defect and thus unable to show the 1st Test match at Queen Sports Club in Bulawayo.
South Africa based SuperSport who are among the leading sports broadcasters in the continent did not procure the rights. The pay TV network had been involved in the negotiation process up until the last few weeks. But due to various reasons, the deal never arrived at a conclusion.
Even the recently completed limited-overs series against India was in danger of missing out on telecast in Zimbabwe until SuperSport finally secured the rights at the last possible moment after many rounds of discussions.
When the New Zealand Tests was expected to go on similar lines, the broadcast company were not able to seal the deal this time around meaning that fans in Zimbabwe and neighboring South Africa could not witness the series on television.
But, cricket supporters in New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and various other places will get to see the Test matches live. Ten Sports have purchased the rights to showcase the series in the subcontinent.
As a consequence, irate Zimbabwean fans took to social media to vent their frustration despite not turning up in droves and supporting the team from the stadium. Though there were not too many spectators at Queen Sports Club, the upcoming holiday season is expected to draw in bigger crowds.
Zimbabwe’s previous Test on home soil came in August 2014 against South Africa at Harare. Languishing at the bottom of the rankings, the two-match series versus New Zealand poses a stiff challenge for them.