DirecTV adds Bangladesh to its ESS cricket package

MUMBAI: A month after News Corp controlled digital television platform DirecTV launched its CricketTicket subscription package targeting South Asian expats in the US, it has added some Bangladeshi spice to its menu.

DirecTV announced on Wednesday that it has acquired exclusive broadcast rights for all international cricket matches to be played in Bangladesh till 2008.

The Bangladesh deal makes the cricket licensing agreements DirecTV has the same as what ESPN Star Sports has in India. DirecTV had already completed licensing agreements with the Australian Cricket Board (ACB), the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB), the New Zealand Cricket Board (NZCB) and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), which gives it access to all international cricket being played in those countries over the next four years. CricketTicket, which is the first-ever season-long subscription TV package for international cricket in the US, was launched last month.

As had been reported last month by, four Star channels - Star Plus, Star One, Star News and Star Vijay - launched in the US on 2 November on DirecTV.

The cricket matches from Bangladesh will be available to all CricketTicket customers at no extra charge. DirecTV's CricketTicket package, which runs till March 2005, is available for $199.

As a special promotion valid till 31 December, customers can get the first season of CricketTicket for free with a one-year commitment to any South Asian package, DirecTV customers could also purchase the Indian tour of Bangladesh a la carte for $99.99.

DirecTV Intl VP Aaron McNally said, "We are delighted to add the Bangladesh national team to our roster of cricket nations for which we've acquired host match broadcast rights. This is an unprecedented offer for cricket fans and we are excited to begin the broadcast with the Indian tour, which is certain to attract wide viewership among our South Asian customers and cricket enthusiasts throughout the US."

Last year News Corp had taken a 34 per cent stake in DirecTV through its subsidiary The Fox Entertainment Group.


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