Singapore: ESPN Star Sports paid $975 million (Rs4,426 crore) for media and marketing rights to cricket’s Champions League Twenty20 competition over 10 years, the latest splurge on the sport’s newest format.
The television channel, a joint-venture between Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and News Corp.’s Star Group Ltd, acquired broadcast rights to the annual event that begins in December in India and features eight teams from Australia, India, South Africa, Pakistan and England.
The game’s shortest form has proved a hit with fans and players. The Indian Premier League sold commercial rights for $918 million over 10 years and attracted $700 million in franchise fees.
“The Champions League will build on the success of domestic Twenty20 leagues in Australia and elsewhere in a manner which accelerates the development of cricket globally,” James Sutherland, chief executive officer of Cricket Australia, said in a statement.
Cricket Australia is one of the founding partners of the Champions League with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which runs the Indian Premier League, and Cricket South Africa. The statement came from the three cricket boards.
Show time: A file photo of an IPL-T20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. These teams will take part in the 3-10 December Champions League Twenty20 competition. Shahbaz Khan / PTI
The winners and runners-up from these three national Twenty20 leagues will take part in the 3-10 December event offering $6 million in prize money, along with a team from Pakistan and England’s Middlesex. The tournament will expand to 12 teams next year, when it will be held between 25 September and 10 October.
ESPN Star also has the rights to the one-day Cricket World Cup until 2015. The channel beat a $751.3 million bid from the Dubai Investment Council for the Champions League rights, the cricket boards said in the statement. Another bid from Abu Dhabi Sports Club was disqualified. Marketing rights accounted for $75 million of the ESPN bid, the cricket boards said.
ESPN Star spokeswoman Cheryl Song said the company had yet to release its own statement on the deal.