Television

ESS unveils its 'Summer of Sport' initiative

MUMBAI: 2005 will be a challenging year for ESPN Star Sports (ESS). The broadcaster has come out with a new initiative that it has branded Summer of Sport.

The tagline refers to its initiatives from this month and extends to September 2005. ESPN will telecast the final of the UEFA Champions League between Liverpool and AC Milan at midnight on 26 May.

 

Still ESS to a degree will be banking on the king of sport cricket to bring in some viewership. India plays a triangular in August with New Zealand and Zimbabwe. The seven ODI series kicks off on 27 August . This is followed by a 2 test series between India and Zimbabwe that concludes on 29 September 2005.

While non India cricket does lag behind if there is one series a true cricket fan will not want to miss it is the Ashes. That is because the top two teams in the world Australia and England will vie for supremacy. Australia are on a hot streak having flayed the daylights out of New Zealand not too long ago. The five test series starts on 21 July 2005 and ends in September.

Before that the broadcaster will showcase The NatWest Series featuring Australia, England and Bangladesh on 16 June 2005.

 

 

Where ESS will really look to score heavily though is in soccer. After all it will air the soccer World Cup next year. In order to build up momentum towards that huge event ESS will whet the appetite with the Fifa Confederations Cup 2005.

To be held in Germany, this year the event is regarded as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Other than the hosts, teams in the Confederations Cup include Argentina, Brazil, Tunisia, Australia, Mexico, Greece, and Japan.

As had been reported earlier by indiantelevision.com, ESS extended its relationship with TNA Wrestling. It started airing on Star Sports on 3 May. Star Sports airs the TNA programmes – TNA Impact, TNA Xplosion and a weekly programme from the archives of TNA Wrestling on a weekly basis and also features a Monthly Special – the ultimate battle after a month long build up, every month. TNA Xplosion, TNA Wrestling and TNA Impact air once a week for an hour on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively.

ESS will also be hoping that Indian tennis hope Sania Mirza puts on a better display at Wimbledon following her disastrous first round exit at the French Open. While Wimbledon does produce wonderful stories like Goran Ivanisevic finally triumphing in 2001 Mirza's advance will guarantee heavy viewership. The tournament kicks off in June.

What is certainly good for ESS is the fact that Formula One has gotten a whole lot more interesting now that Michael Schumacher is struggling. Three drivers fighting for supremacy is better than one person merely xeroxing his number one performance month in and month out.

Other sports that ESS will showcase are NBA Basketball, NFL Superbowl, MLB World Series Baseball, Asian Bowling Tour Grand Final, X-Games to name a few. In Golf, the coverage includes the US Masters, the Augusta and the PGA Tour.

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