ESPN-STAR Sports has bagged the broadcast rights for all ICC events for an eight-year period starting from 2007 to 2015. A statement issued by the ICC announcing the winner said, "The decision was a unanimous one, taken by the ICC Board in Dubai on Saturday, and the ICC will now seek to reach final agreement with ESPN-STAR Sports."
R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN-STAR India, said, "The rights will start from September next year with the 20-20 World Cup." He, however, declined to comment on the valuation of the deal, saying ICC and the broadcaster had decided not to disclose the sum.
The rights encompasses two World Cups (in 2011 and 2015) and major tournaments such as the Champions Trophy in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, two Twenty-20 World Cups, the Women’s World Cup and and Intercontinental Cup, among others.
Global Cricket Corporation holds ICC’s existing telecast rights and the term expires after next year's World Cup in West Indies. GCC had bagged the rights for $532 million.
According to sources close to the development, ESPN-STAR Sports had the highest bid of $1.1 billion, which edged out closest competitor Nimbus, which had reportedly bid $900 million. Among other contenders, Zee Sports bid $850 million while Dubai-based Ten Sports gave a joint bid with Infront Productions of $825 million. Sunil Gavaskar and Harsha Bhogle made a presentation on behalf of ESPN-STAR sports.
Commenting on the decision to name ESPN-STAR Sports as its preferred bidder, ICC President, Percy Sonn, said, “We are absolutely delighted that after an open and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best deal for cricket. All the bids we received were of a very high standard and we would like to thank the unsuccessful organisations for their submissions. However, the Board was unanimous in the view that the ESPN-STAR Sports bid was the best, and we believe all of our 97 members will gain significant benefit from an agreement with ESPN-STAR Sports.”
Sonn further said, “The revenue that will come into the game as a result of this deal will ensure every one of those members will be able to plan for the future with certainty, allowing us to make our strong sport even stronger. ESPN-STAR Sports has an outstanding reputation as a sports broadcaster and we are delighted that we have found an outstanding partner to provide coverage of the game for the next eight years.”
Jamie Davis, Managing Director, ESPN-STAR Sports, said, “This acquisition affirms our commitment to the Indian sub-continent and the world and we are absolutely delighted to bring the exciting line-up of ICC Events to millions of cricket fans globally. Our company has done pioneering work in showcasing cricket in an entertaining and informative way and we will continue to innovate and extend the excitement of cricket through to 2015.”