ESPN-Star paid whopping $1.1 bil for media rights

Published: Monday, December 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:The Singapore-based ESPN-Star television network was awarded cricket's global media rights for the next eight years for a staggering $1.1 billion, says a cricket website report.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) had announced the deal with ESPN-Star, a joint venture between Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, on Saturday without disclosing the amount involved.

But a cricket website quoted independent sources present at the ICC's Executive Board meeting here that ESPN-Star won the deal for $1.1 billion, double of the existing agreement.

The current seven-year deal with marketing agents Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), which ends after the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April, was worth $550 million.

"While the final figure on the agreement will not be disclosed, it is significantly in excess of the ICC's previous commercial deal," the ICC said in a statement.

The ESPN-Star deal for 2007-2015 covers 18 ICC tournaments including the 2011 World Cup in South Asia and the subsequent edition in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Also covered are three Champions Trophy tournaments and the first two Twenty20 world championships in South Africa in 2007 and England in 2009, the ICC's centenary year.

ICC president Percy Sonn of South Africa said the sport's governing body was "absolutely delighted" at the new deal.

"After an open and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best deal for cricket," Sonn said in the statement.

"All the bids we received were of a very high standard and we would like to thank the unsuccessful organizations for their submissions.

"However, the Executive Board was unanimous in the view that the ESPN-Star bid was the best, and we believe all of our 97 member countries will gain significant benefit from the agreement.

"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."

"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,"ESPN-Star managing director Jamie Davis said.

"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."

"We are honoured to have been selected as the ICC's Global Partner," Davis said in the ICC statement.


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