ESPN Star Sports acquires Champions Trophy rights

ESPN Star Sports, India's leading sports broadcaster, announced yesterday the acquisition of exclusive telecast rights for the Champions Trophy tournament to be played in Sharjah. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will participate in the triangular tournament beginning on October 26.

The deal, struck between Sharjah Cricket Club LLC and ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), firmly establishes ESS as the leading sports broadcaster in India with top quality cricket coverage from around the world.

With this acquisition, ESS has a virtual lock on international cricket played outside India. The exception being cricket played in Sri Lanka. Sony Entertainment's MAX channel, which is also trying to build a cricket property, will be telecasting the two Test matches between Sri Lanka and West Indies (14-18 November and 22-26 November). For Max the loss of Sharjah rights puts a further dent to its hopes of being considered a serious player in the cricket arena. MAX was launched as a channel two years ago (8 October) with the telecast of the Sharjah tourney and has held the telecast rights till April this year.

As for ESPN Star Sports, apart from the ongoing India-South Africa-Kenya Triangular Series, the upcoming fixtures include the Sharjah triangular one-day series, comprising Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, the India vs South Africa test series, the New Zealand, South Africa tour of Australia.

Manu Sawhney, managing director of ESPN Software India said: "With the acquisition of Champions Trophy rights, ESPN STAR Sports will showcase more than 66 days of cricket (21 ODIs, 9 Tests) with over 528 hours live and exclusive coverage of international cricket. This festive season, cricket fans across the country will enjoy back-to-back, non-stop cricket involving nine test-playing countries."

"The acquisition of Sharjah cricket rights will also help bring the best of international cricket at prime television viewing time. The contract further demonstrates our commitment to cricket which remains unrivalled in the Indian market. We look forward to working closely with Sharjah Cricket Club LLC to bring quality international cricket LIVE to Indian viewers," added Sawhney.

The line-up for Champions trophy is as follows:

Friday 26th October - Sri Lanka vs. Zimbabwe (ESPN)

Saturday 27th October - Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (STAR Sports)

Sunday 28th October - Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe (STAR Sports)

Tuesday 30th October - Sri Lanka vs. Zimbabwe (STAR Sports)

Wednesday 31st Oct - Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe (STAR Sports)

Friday 2nd November - Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (STAR Sports)

Sunday 4th November - Final (STAR Sports)

The timings for all the matches is as follows:

First Session - 1600-1930 hrs

Second Session - 2015-2345 hrs

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