ESPN STAR Sports has signed a new five-year contract till 2017 for the exclusive rights to broadcast Cricket Australia’s domestic and home international matches across various platforms, including television, Internet, mobile and radio, covering the entire Asian region. As part of this deal, the current Future Tours Program (FTP) sees the channel broadcasting more than 191 days of live international cricket action from Australia, including 27 Test matches, 44 One Day Internationals and 12 Twenty20 games.
This is the first time ever that a broadcast deal with Cricket Australia will give ESPN STAR Sports rights to showcase two India series. India is slated to play four Test matches and a Tri-Series with England as the third team in the 2014-15 season. This Tri-Series, featuring India, Australia and England and scheduled right before the ICC World Cup in 2015, is already looked upon as the signature event of the year and is positioned as the ‘Clash of the Titans’. India will visit Australia again for seven ODIs and two Twenty20 matches in the year 2015-16.
Over the next five years, all of the leading teams will be visiting Australia. based on the current FTP, the Ashes Series between arch rivals England and Australia in the year 2013-14 will see five Test matches, five ODIs and three T20 matches. In addition to this, other top cricket nations, including South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand will tour Australia to test their mettle in the fiercely competitive environment of cricket Down Under.
Manu Sawhney, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, said, “We are very pleased to announce this partnership with Cricket Australia with whom we share a very strong relationship. Australian Cricket has always been exciting and is played with utmost competitiveness in a super charged atmosphere which makes for every fan’s delight. It is, therefore, not surprising that it is called the ultimate test for any cricket player.”
A source close to the channel said, “The Indian team has performed creditably in Australia in the recent past. The rivalry between the two teams, both vying for success, has made the India-Australia series one of the most watched cricket tours worldwide. We feel that the matches this time around will be exciting as well and will deliver strongly in terms of viewership/ratings estimations.”
ESS has produced TVCs featuring cricketers like Sourav Ganguly, Ravi Shastri, Steve Waugh and also celebrities like Vinay Pathak and Vijay Raaz. The channel has done a marketing tie-up with the forthcoming movie ‘Agneepath’ and would have a couple of TVCs featuring the lead starcast of the movie, which would be aired later in the month. The channel intends to use electronic, radio and print media as well to support the campaign.