ESPN Star Sports to showcase soccer show 'Kick Off'

MUMBAI: ESPN Star Sports has launched a soccer based show called Kick Off. The game show based on a quizzing format features two popular ex-EPL players; Lee Sharpe and Les Ferdinand. The show will be hosted by the presenter of the popular soccer show Nokia Football Crazy, Andy Penders.

Kick Off will launch on 21 February and air every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 pm. The show will run concurrently with the EPL and the UEFA Champion's league.

The end of the show will coincide with the end of the 2005-06 season for both the popular leagues and will also telecast live and exclusive on ESPN Star Sports.

Kick Off is an affirmative step by ESPN Star Sports towards providing innovative sports entertainment content to viewers across Asia.

Kick Off will showcase competition among 20 teams participating from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

These 20 teams will quiz against each other in an interesting game show format. 40 member participants comprising the teams were selected by inviting entries via Nokia Football Crazy and Here We Go. These participants will be specially flown into Singapore to shoot for Kick Off.

Highlighting a unique aspect of the game show, ESPN Star Sports senior VP Huw Bevan said, "Kick off is poised to be a very exciting program. Contestants from countries like Singapore and Malaysia where the EPL is so popular and contestants from countries like India where EPL's popularity is still growing will come on a common platform to compete for the first time.

"It will be an interesting contest among the SEA country teams as well, where each country vies for the title of the most knowledgeable soccer-nation. On the other hand there will be a contest between SEA countries and India where SEA will come with their exposure of EPL against Indian teams' insatiable hunger for quizzing and game shows, popularity of EPL not withstanding."

Huw added, "As a network we continue to increase our strength by acquiring new sports properties. Simultaneously, our efforts will now focus on creating interesting sports entertainment programs like Kick Off to increase viewer involvement."

Each episode of Kick Off will be 30 minutes in duration and feature two teams. The teams will be captained by Les Ferdinand and Lee Sharpe and named after popular EPL and UEFA Champions League clubs.

Andy Penders will present the show. Penders, in his inimitable style will challenge the captains, competitors and the audiences alike to make the show lively and competitive.

The penultimate chapter of Kick Off on 9 May will be a unique episode, shot with the soccer pundits of ESPN Star Sports. This show will pitch two teams comprising of John Dykes and Andrew Leci, captained by Lee Sharpe and Paul Mansfield and Jamie Reeves captained by Les Ferdinand against each other.

The final of Kick Off has been scheduled for 11 May, two days before the final of the FA Cup, which will be telecast live and exclusive on 13 May at 10 pm on Star Sports.

Winners of Kick Off will be presented a unique gold trophy and the runner-up team will receive the silver Trophy. Besides the title both the winners, with a companion will have a chance to go on a five-day trip to UK to see an EPL match of their choice in the 2006-07 season. Through a special, 'Name the Goal' contest viewers will also get a chance to win an attractive Nokia mobile phone.

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