ESPN has acquired the rights for exclusive live coverage in the US of ICC events, including the 2015 World Cup, and the Champions League Twenty20, for the period 2012 to 2015. The deals, signed with global rights holder ESPN Star Sports, will add more than 1,000 hours of live cricket to ESPN3.com's line-up.
"It's a big day for cricket fans in the US, and we're thrilled to be the network offering this passionate and under-served audience more cricket coverage than ever before," Damon Phillips, vice president, ESPN3.com, said in a statement. "We're removing the traditional pay per view barrier and making these world class events available to millions of fans."
The deals include the rights across television, online and mobile platforms for Champions League Twenty20 matches for three years, as well as the next two World Twenty20 tournaments, the Under-19 and Women's World Cup and the Champions Trophy, among others.
"The ICC is delighted that ESPN has acquired the rights to ICC events for the period 2012 to 2015," Manu Sawhney, managing director, ESPN Star Sports said. "The US is a region of real growth and potential for cricket, and for us to have a world-class broadcaster like ESPN as a collaborator in the US is a great boost for our sport. This deal signals a real sea change in the mainstream exposure of cricket to American viewers. Hopefully, this will be a catalyst for huge growth for cricket in this critical market."
The deal is the first in the US to offer the World Cup at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or cable TV video subscription from an affiliated service provider. In 2010, ESPN3.com carried 368 hours of cricket, including Bangladesh's home games against India and England, matches between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Florida, the 2010 Asia Cup and the Caribbean Regional Twenty20 Tournament.