Friday, September 12, 2008

ESPN Star pay $1bln for Twenty20 Champions League rights

ESPN Star Sports will pay nearly one billion dollars for commercial and marketing rights of the Twenty20 Cricket Champions League.

The inaugural tournament will be held from December 3 to 10 with $6 million in prize money. It will feature eight teams, two each from Australia, India and South Africa and the champions from the England and Pakistan domestic leagues.

Organizers said on Thursday the broadcaster had bid $900 million for a 10-year deal, plus some $75 million for marketing.

"The commercial rights were won by ESPN STAR Sports with a bid of $975 million (including $75 million for marketing of the tournament)," they said in a statement. "This makes the Champions League Twenty20 the highest value cricket tournament on a per game basis."

The Australian, Indian and South African boards will jointly organize the Champions League, an off-shoot of a lucrative Indian version launched this year.

"We are absolutely delighted that after a fair and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best commercial deal for the inaugural Champions League season and for cricket fans across the world," Lalit Modi, vice-president Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in the press release.