ICC rights go to ESPN-Star
The ICC's television rights for 2007-2015 have been sold to ESPN-Star, a joint venture between ESPN and the Rupert Murdoch-owned Star network, reportedly for a staggering "$1.1 billion", double the previous amount for the same period of time. While the ICC would not disclose the amount involved, independent sources present at the meeting in Dubai confirmed that figure to Cricinfo. The issue was decided at a meeting of the ICC Board in Dubai today and the decision was confirmed by an ICC release.
Included in the eight-year period under discussion 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.
The telecast rights to the Indian board's matches were awarded earlier this year to privately-owned Nimbus for $612 million for four years. The bidding process took a curious turn when the BCCI threw its hat into the ring, before pulling out at the ICC meeting in Mumbai last month. Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the surprise winner of the ICC rights for the four years to 2007 for a reported $250 million, were not among the bidders this time around.
"We are absolutely delighted that, after an open and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best deal for cricket," Percy Sonn, the ICC president, said immediately after decision was announced. "All the bids we received were of a very high standard and we would liketo 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."
Jamie Davis, the managing director of ESPN-Star, was understandably elated at having secured the bid. "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," he 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."