ESPN-STAR Sports can look back at 2006 with a lot of satisfaction having bagged several major sports properties. The channel unveils its plans for 2007 that involves innovatively marketing these properties as well as introducing scores of new content.
R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN-STAR Sports India, said, “The year 2006 has been really fruitful for us. In the coming year, we have plans to do introduce some new things as far as our programming goes. Take, for example, the Samsung Match Zone. It’s a property that has tremendous opportunities, which also connects with the viewers.”
Venkateish further said, “In 2006, ESPN-STAR Sports bagged the broadcast rights for all ICC events for an eight-year period starting from 2007 to 2015. 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 Intercontinental Cup, among others. Also, we recently bagged rights for some important international sports properties such as the ICC events and the UEFA league. We are also paying equal attention to domestic events such the Premier Hockey League (PHL) tournament. This apart, we have acquired the live and exclusive telecast rights for the French Open Grand Slam tournament for a period of five years.”
Regarding the value added services (VAS) domain in India, Venkateish said, “We launched Mobile ESPN, marking our entry into the mobile VAS domain in India in November 2006. Besides information on cricket, the specialised feature service will have latest updates from international soccer matches, sports centre news, and exclusive interviews and sports schedules. The new service is available on major telecom networks such as Hutch, Airtel, Idea, and BSNL. Mobile ESPN will be a 360-degree sports service, covering every possible game in all possible formats – voice, video, text and SMS – in multiple languages. We are increasing our presence in the Internet space as well.”