ESPN-STAR Sports has announced a new seven-year contract for the Australian Open till 2014, covering cable & satellite, IPTV, DTH and terrestrial rights. ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) and Tennis Australia have also agreed to a ground-breaking collaboration for new media platforms such as mobile telephony and the Internet.
The new contract gives ESS rights for the entire territory, including China, for 2008, while beginning 2009 the rights would cover 23 countries across South Asia, South East Asia and North Asia with the exception of China.
ESS has been bringing all the excitement of the Australian Open tournament to tennis fans across Asia since 2002, and with this agreement would ensure that millions of fans across Asia continued to enjoy the action. ESS would continue to support the Australian Open match coverage with comprehensive presentation packages, including daily highlights, news and analysis as well as behind-the-scene looks at the tournament.
Manu Sawhney, Managing Director, ESS, said, “The Australian Open has always occupied a special place in Asian sports fans’ hearts with its legacy as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of tennis. We have built a very successful partnership with Tennis Australia over the last six years and we are extremely pleased to now extend our relationship for another seven years.”
“With the strong equity that our brands enjoy across Asia and the strength of our new media platforms, including mobile and online, we are committed to further strengthen the appeal and distribution of Australian Open across Asia and to continue its growth as the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific,” he added.
A delighted Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood said that the new deal marked a new chapter in a very strong relationship with ESPN Star Sports. “ESS has been a highly valued partner to Tennis Australia and the Australian Open. As the leader in Asian sports television, ESS is the perfect fit for the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific,” he added.
It may be recalled that last month, ESS concluded the successful broadcast of ‘The Australian Open 2008’ with its coverage on various networks across Asia featuring veteran tennis player Vijay Amritraj as expert commentator and popular anchor Alan Wilkins presenting the highly-watched programming line-up.
This latest multi-year acquisition adds to a stellar list of the world’s top tennis events already airing on the ESPN-STAR Sports network, including the Wimbledon throughout Asia, the French Open in South Asia, the ATP Masters Series, which comprises 10 of the best tennis tournaments outside of the Grand Slams, and the Hyundai Hopman Cup, the only ITF official international mixed teams competition.