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ESPN-Star wins ICC global rights
December 11, 2006 12:36 IST
The International Cricket Council's Board on Sunday announced ESPN-Star Sports as its global media and production partner for its audio-visual rights for ICC events from late 2007 to 2015.
The decision was a unanimous one, taken by the ICC Board in Dubai on Saturday, and the ICC will now seek to reach final agreement with ESPN-Star Sports.
While the final figure on the agreement will not be disclosed, it is significantly in excess of the ICC's previous commercial deal. It is believed that the rights were sold for around US$1 billion. The other bidders were Nimbus Communications, Zee Telefilms Ltd. and Ten Sports.
That deal, with the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), included sponsorship rights as well as the audio-visual component and was worth US$550 million for the years 2000 to 2007.
Included in the new eight-year period are 18 ICC tournaments with two ICC Cricket World Cups, in Asia (2011) and Australasia (2015), and a minimum of three ICC Champions Trophy tournaments.
Also included are the first two ICC Twenty20 World Championships, in South Africa (2007) and England (2009), the latter taking place in the ICC's centenary year.
And there are Cricket World Cup qualifiers, four ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cups, and, for the first time, the Women's Cricket World Cup, with two tournaments scheduled for 2009 (Australia) and 2013 (India) in the eight-year timeframe.
Commenting on the decision to name ESPN-Star Sports as its preferred bidder, ICC President Percy Sonn said: "We are absolutely delighted that, after an open and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best deal for cricket.
"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 Board was unanimous in the view that the ESPN-Star Sports bid was the best, and we believe all of our 97 Members will gain significant benefit from an agreement with ESPN-Star Sports.
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," Sonn added.
"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," said Jamie Davis, managing director, ESPN-Star Sports.
"We are honoured to have been selected as the ICC's Global Partner," he added.
ESPN-Star Sports is jointly owned by News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company.
Members of the ICC Board were quick to stress the significance of the decision to support ESPN-Star Sports' bid.
Sir John Anderson KBE, New Zealand Cricket's chairman, said: "I am absolutely delighted. ESPN-Star Sports is a great partner for the ICC and the revenue that will be generated for the game will underpin the growth of cricket both domestically and globally.
I S Bindra, former Board of Control for Cricket in India president and India's representative at the meeting, said: "This deal is good for the game and it shows cricket is growing.
"That growth will increase the number of markets into which the game can be sold and that will increase cricket's value even further. Much of the money that comes from this deal can be ploughed back into the development of the game and that will strengthen cricket even more," he added.
The ICC team, which met with potential media partners and sponsors and conducted negotiations to reach this point, consisted of ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed, former ICC president Ehsan Mani, who acted as a consultant during negotiations, as well as ICC general manager � Commercial Campbell Jamieson and ICC commercial lawyer Richard Verow.
Tony Samuel, of CRA International, a firm of forensic accountants, performed the role of independent observer.