ESPN and ADD tie to bring cricket to Arab world

Eight-year deal for all ICC events secures rights for the next two World Cups.

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ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) has signed an eight-year broadcast partnership with Arab Digital Distribution (ADD) for all International Cricket Council (ICC) events from 2008 to 2015 - including the global showpiece event of the cricket calendar, the ICC Cricket World Cup due to take place in 2011 in Asia and 2015 in Australia.

Covering all television and new media platforms including internet and mobile, this distribution partnership will make ICC events available to cricket fans across the Middle East and North Africa through ADD’s bouquet.

Speaking about the deal, Manu Sawhney, managing director of ESPN STAR Sports said: “We have succeeded in securing some very significant long-term broadcast partnerships for the ICC events and look forward to serving fans with these showcase ICC cricket events in this growing market. This partnership underscores our commitment to cricket fans in the Middle East as the sport continues to grow at an immense rate across the globe. In addition to this, we are currently in discussions with more broadcasters across other markets and we expect to soon be in a position to share details on them with you.”

The deal with ADD covers Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. With the agreement, the Arab broadcaster hopes to extend the reach of ICC events and strengthening its appeal in the region.

“Cricket is a big driver of audiences for our business and has a dynamic following which cuts across all segments irrespective of age, gender or background," commented Vinod D’Mello, executive vice president, Group Strategy and Planning, ADD. “This long term partnership with ESPN STAR Sports underlines our commitment of providing world-class sports entertainment to our viewers."

Earlier this year, ESPN STAR Sports had announced the invitation to tender for the ICC broadcast rights and claimed to have received a huge response from a diverse pool of media including various broadcast and telecommunication organisations, such as Supersport in Southern Africa, PMG in Australia, Sky NZ in New Zealand and CMC in the Caribbean. ESPN STAR Sports’ affiliate, EML, was awarded the exclusive global telecast and marketing rights from the ICC in 2006 for all of their events from 2007 to 2015.

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