Ten Sports loses FA Cup rights to ESPN Star Sports

MUMBAI: Cricket and other sports may also be available on rival channels but when it comes to 'A' list soccer, it is now virtually the sole preserve of ESPN Star Sports.


ESS today announced it had successfully concluded an exclusive four year agreement with England's governing body of football, The Football Association (The FA). Including the 'English FA Cup' ESPN STAR Sports now has rights to telecast English Premier League (EPL), UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup, Spanish Primera Liga making ESS the most comprehensive soccer network by a long way in India.


The four-year FA package covers exclusive broadcast rights to all FA Cup matches, the 'FA Community Shield', all Senior and Under-21 England team home matches from seasons 2004/5 to 2007/8 including all friendly matches, World Cup and European Championship qualifiers. The FA Cup is currently being telecast live on Ten Sports and will continue to be with the Dubai-based sports broadcaster till the finals on 22 May. Ten Sports has held the rights to Britain's most prestigious soccer tournament for the last three years.

RC Venkateish managing director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd was quoted in a company release as saying, "Besides acquiring the best soccer properties available in the world, we are also making special efforts to popularize the game and the international soccer properties in India. In case of EPL we have already hosted special screenings for high-profile EPL matches, consumer contests, advertising and promotional campaigns and other innovations to increase league's recognition. We have received great response on our 'What's your Gang?' marketing campaign specially created for the English Premier League."

ESS has been promoting football in a big way in India. In the year 2003 ESPN STAR Sports telecast two semi finals and finals of the 'Chlor-mint IFA Shield'. It was the first instance in India when a Cable & Satellite broadcaster showcased live Indian football, the release says.

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