Enock Muchinjo is a Zimbabwean sports writer and blogger
Zimbabwe Cricket has signed an eight-year deal with Total Sports Marketing (TSM), a Bangladesh sports marketing agency, for the marketing rights and live television coverage of all of Zimbabwe's home international matches.
The agreement, which both parties claim to be a "zero-cost deal" as of now, was signed in July and could conceivably end ZC's partnership with Indian firm Ten Sports, whose parent company Taj Television holds the television rights for Asia and the Middle East. Due to their association with Essel Group, an Indian conglomerate company said to be eyeing an extraordinary takeover of world cricket, Ten Sports have fallen out of favour with cricket authorities.
Only last month, India's tour of Zimbabwe was initially called off due to the unresolved issues between the BCCI and Ten Sports, though the tour eventually took place after crunch talks after the two boards worked out a deal.
Moinul Chowdury, the TSM's chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo that his company was ready to operate at a loss until Zimbabwe started attracting significant corporate interest. Chowdury claims that ZC saved at least $2.5 million in television production costs when the country hosted India and New Zealand over the last two months. He added that the board retained the $3.8 million in revenue generated from the India series alone.
"The ZC leadership convinced me to invest and I'm confident that around 2016-2017 we will start operating at a profit," Chowdury said. "Zimbabwe was the only Test nation that was meeting its own television production costs and it took a huge toll on the board. They've shown us a good blueprint, and we are happy to be in business with them."
ZC interim chairman Wilson Manase said under the deal, Zimbabwe are guaranteed at least 50 days of home international cricket in all three versions of the game until the 2023 World Cup.
"Under the FTP, we were supposed to play just 58 ODIs outside the ICC tournaments. That was going to decrease our chances of improving rankings. The onus is now on us to make ourselves marketable and repay the confidence and faith shown in us by TSM," Manase said.