Thursday, September 11, 2008

Champions League rights sold for $900 million to ESPN

ESPN-STAR Sports has won the exclusive Global Commercial Rights to telecast the Twenty20 Champions League matches for 10 years starting from the event's inaugural edition scheduled to be held from December 3-10.
The channel bagged the rights for USD 900 million, making the League highest value cricket tournament on a per game basis. On their way to secure the commercial right, ESPN STAR Sports left behind Abu Dhabi Sports Club and DIC.

The status of Twenty20 cricket as the sport's most lucrative avatar has been confirmed with commercial rights to the Champions League being sold to broadcasters ESPN-Star Sports (ESS). This makes the Champions League, promoted by the national boards of India, Australia and South Africa, the highest valued cricket tournament on a per-game basis.

The deal marks ESS's entry into the specialized Twenty20 market; it had lost out on the bid for the Indian Premier League after what seemed like a miscalculation on its part. The IPL rights were eventually sold to a consortium, including Sony Entertainment Television and the Singapore-based World Sports Group, for more than $1 billion. It had seemed like an outrageous price to pay at the time; now, after the overwhelming success of the inaugural IPL, it seems a steal.

ESS are the ICC's television rights holder until 2015 - they acquired the rights in 2006 for $1.1 billion over nine years - but the postponement of the Champions Trophy, originally due to start in Pakistan tomorrow, left them facing a long spell without a major series.