ESPN signs on Incablenet for Star Cricket, deals with other big MSOs in the offing

NEW DELHI: In what can have a significant impact on the industry, ESPN Star Sports has signed a major deal with multi-system operator (MSO) Incablenet for the distribution of its new sibling Star Cricket.

In an exclusive interaction, ESS vice president (distribution) Rajesh Kaul told Indiantelevision that the deal has been signed with Incablenet, and hectic negotiations to bring on board other national MSOs like Hathway and others are on.

Kaul, who refused to divulge the details of the deal, however, stated: "Incablenet will be distributing Star Sports at Rs 28 per subscriber per month, and within a fortnight of launching the new channel we have reached more than 70 per cent of the reach of ESPN and Star Sports in the country."

With the signing of the Incablenet deal, the city of Mumbai is now covered to the tune of 75 per cent already, he told

For the rest of the operators who have not come on board, we are constantly in touch and we are hopeful of concluding deals with them over the next two or three days, Kaul revealed.

"By the time the first ball is bowled in the first test between India and England, we expect the entire country to be able to watch the high quality action from our cricketers," he added.

When asked about other MSOs who are still to conclude any deal, Rajesh said, "We have always stressed upon the fact that we do business based on our good relationship with cable partners and MSOs across the country."

Star Cricket can be seen now across all major cities including metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore and major as well as smaller district towns of Haryana region (Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Ambala, Sonepat, Rewari, Hissar), UP (Haridwar, Meerut, Lucknow, Aligarh, Kanpur), Gujarat (Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot, Kutch), Kerala (Calicut, Cochin, Trivandrum, Trissur, Kottayam), Karnataka (Bangalore, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Bidar), Tamil Nadu( Kumbakonam, Ramnad, Nagapattinam, Krishnagiri) West Bengal (24 Parganas, Durgapur, Jamshedpur), Assam (Guwahati, Shillong), Andhra Pradesh (Vizag, Rajahmundry, Warangal, Tirupati, Anantpur), Maharashtra (Pune, Sholapur, Nasik, Thane), Goa and Pondicherry, Kaul said.

ESPN Star Sports has already announced a target of 100 per cent increase in affiliate sales this year, banking on massive inventory of cricket in the next 15 months spread across the three channels.

The content includes India‘s tour of England (3 tests and 7 ODIs) (July - September 07), The Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa (September 07) and India‘s tour of Australia involving 4 tests and a tri series with Australia, Sri Lanka and India involving 15 ODIs (December 07 -March 08).

The Asia Cup and the ICC Champions trophy to be played in Pakistan next year will also be broadcast on ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket.

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