Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the apex body for management of cricket in Asia, has awarded the worldwide rights for telecasting the 9th Asia Cup to ESPN-STAR Sports. The rights include global exclusive TV broadcast of the tournament, radio broadcast and on-ground sponsorships.
The Asia Cup, which will be played between India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, will be held in Pakistan from February 16 to 28, 2006.
According to R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, “The Asia Cup has now become an integral part of the international cricket calendar, and after the success we had with the last tournament, we hope that this year’s Asia Cup will give fans the same thrilling viewing experience. The cricket in Pakistan will be highly competitive and the batsman-friendly conditions should make for a high-scoring Asia Cup event.”
“Our world-class telecast of the Asia Cup will include preview and review shows, special innovations, graphics, special interviews, reports and the ESPN-STAR Sports commentary team of the ‘Few Good Men’, who will be back to enthuse and captivate our audience. In addition, we are working on special initiatives to boost the value we provide to our viewers, which will be announced in a few days,” Venkateish added.
Syed Ashraful Huq, CEO, Asian Cricket Council, said, “We are extremely pleased to announce our partnership with ESPN-STAR Sports for the forthcoming Asia Cup. They have consistently delivered quality cricket coverage with the highest production values to fans across key territories in Asia, showcasing the sport at its finest. Asia Cup’s success in 2004 was largely due to all the partnerships that we had forged, and ESPN-STAR Sports was a valuable contributor to the success of that event. We continue our commitment to develop the best cricket in the Asian continent and hope that this year in Pakistan, the cricket will be as exciting as ever. The Asia Cups have a habit of producing some tremendously exciting cricket.”
Manu Sawhney, Executive Vice-President, ESPN-STAR Sports, said, “We at ESPN-STAR Sports continue to deliver world-class must-see programming to viewers across Asia. Securing the rights to the Asia Cup is an affirmation of our commitment to Asian cricket and reinforces our goal of taking the growing number of Asian cricketing nations to the next level of competition and onto the world’s stage. We believe in Asian cricket and see a strong future for it. There are already several Asian cricket powerhouses and others are coming into their own.”
In addition to the Asia Cup-2006, ESPN-STAR Sports’ kitty includes exclusive broadcast rights for the English Premier League, FIFA World Cup-2006, FIFA Confederations Cup-2005, as well as multi-year deals for the Wimbledon, F1 and A1 Grand Prix, Moto GP and the US Open Golf.
ESPN-STAR Sports has also added TNA Wrestling and Pride FC to its wrestling portfolio. The sports broadcaster has also signed a four-year deal with Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, and a three-year exclusive deal with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for all international matches to be played in India under the aegis of IHF.