ESPN-Star Sports combine has acquired the multi-year Asian broadcasting rights for ICC Knockouts and Cricket World Cup till 2007, telecasting rights of all foreign tours by the Indian Cricket team till 2004, C&S and syndication rights to leading tennis grand slams, Wimbledon & US Open till 2004 and C&S telecasting rights to FIA Formula One World Championships till 2005.
In at least 6 rights acquisition deals running into millions of dollars, ESS has it all for the Asian viewers safely in its kitty of exclusive big-ticket sports rights. In Asia, ESPN STAR sports already has 250 million viewers spread across 25 countries and India alone accounts for 23 million of it’s viewers.
The long list of acquired rights does not stop just here. ESS also has live football frenzy at it’s best. It has won the exclusive Asian satellite and terrestrial telecasting rights of the English Premier League for the next three seasons beginning August 2001.
ESS has also bid for the Asian rights of FIFA World Cup Football, 2002 & 2006 which are with Stracon India. ESS is currently negotiating with Stracon to bag these rights. ESS acquired all these rights in separate deals with the world’s premier sport companies and representative sport bodies.
The satellite telecasting rights for all foreign tours of the Indian cricket team have been bagged from the individual boards in countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa and West Indies. The rights to the cable & satellite telecast to the ICC knockout and Cricket World Cup were acquired from WSG (World Sports Group).
As for the tennis grand slams, the All England Lawn Tennis Association has given ESS the rights for Wimbeldon. According to Wimbeldon Television Marketing Director, Ian Edwards, ESS’ proven ability to value-add to sport properties was a deciding factor in the award of multi-year rights to the company.
The deal for the Asian cable & satellite rights to the FIA Formula One Championships for 2001-2005 was struck with two Europe based companies, Bernie Accleston & EMTV.
Meanwhile, the terrestrial and satellite rights for beaming live, 164 English Premier League matches was acquired from the News Corp-Cannal Plus combine.