New Delhi: Asian sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports today announced a new five-year contract for exclusive rights to broadcast Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic and home international matches across various platforms including television, internet, mobile and radio covering the entire Asian region.
As a part of the deal, the current Future Tours Program (FTP) will see ESPN Star Sports broadcasting more than 191 days of live International cricket from Australia, including 27 test matches, 44 one day internationals and 12 twenty-20 games.
This is the first broadcast deal with Cricket Australia to enable ESPN Star Sports the rights to showcase two India series. India is slated to play four test matches and a tri-series with England as the third team in the 2014-2015 season. This tri-series, featuring India, Australia and England and scheduled right before the ICC World Cup in 2015 is already looked upon as the signature event of the year and is positioned as the 'Clash of the Titans'. India will visit Australia again for seven ODIs and two twenty-20 matches in 2015-2016.
Over the next five years, all of the leading teams will be visiting Australia. In addition to the Ashes between arch rivals England and Australia in the year 2013-2014 which, based on the current FTP, will see five test matches, five ODIs and three T20 matches, other top cricket nations including South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand will tour Australia to test their mettle in the fiercely competitive environment of cricket down under.
In addition to international cricket, ESPN Star Sports also plans to broadcast Cricket Australia's top-class domestic cricket over 280 days, including popular tournaments such as the KFC Big Bash T20, the four-day Bupa Sheffield Shield tournament and the Ryobi One Day Cup.
The KFC Twenty20 Big Bash has emerged as an extremely popular T20 tournament. The tournament has drawn some of the world's best players including Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul and more to compete along with emerging Australian cricketing talent. The tournament will further grow in popularity as the legendary ace spinner Shane Warne has announced his participation in it from this season.
The top two teams from this premier tournament qualify for the coveted Nokia Champions League Twenty20. Star performers also play for various club teams in the IPL.
India's forthcoming tour of Australia starting 26 December 2011 will feature four test matches, two twenty-20 matches and a triangular one day series with Sri Lanka as the third team. The tri-series will have as many as 15 one day internationals. All the matches of this series will be televised live on Star Cricket and Star Cricket HD and the tri-series will also be broadcast on ESPN.