DirecTV inks deal with GCC for ICC Champions Trophy 2006 and World Cup 2007

MUMBAI: Cricket fever will soon grip the US! The direct-broadcast satellite provider DirecTV has reached an agreement with Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) to broadcast two International Cricket Council (ICC) events -- the ICC Champions Trophy, to be held in India in October 2006 and the ICC Cricket World Cup, to be played in the West Indies in March 2007.

Television rights to the two ICC events have been acquired by DirecTV on a non-exclusive basis. DirecTV's acquisition of international cricket rights has been part of an effort to expand its programming services for the diverse ethnic population within the United States.

"These are the most prestigious cricket events in the world, and we are proud to offer them to DirecTV customers for the first time ever," said DirecTV Inc VP International Aaron McNally.

"With these ICC events and with exclusive rights to six of the ten test-playing ICC members as part of our CricketTicket package, we are cementing our position as the leading distributor of televised cricket content in the United States."

News Corp owns approximately 36 per cent in DirecTV. The pricing and packaging for the two events will be announced at a later date, according to an official release.
"Our agreement with DirecTV is great news for cricket in the United States of America and for the ICC," said ICC president Ehsan Mani.

"DirecTV's coverage means people who might not ordinarily be exposed to cricket will get the chance to watch it. And we hope the opportunity to see the world's best players in the world's best tournament, the ICC Cricket World Cup, will lead to a significant increase in the number of people interested in the game in the United States, a country which has tremendous potential for growth in cricketing terms."

"We are extremely grateful to DirecTV for their support and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with them," added Mani.

GCC managing director Ian Frykberg said, "Global Cricket Corporation looks forward to working with DirecTV at the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 later this year and at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 next year."

Cricket is extraordinarily popular among populations from South Asia, West Indies and many other parts of the world. Since late 2004, DirecTV has been offering customers access to cricket matches via the DirecTV CricketTicket package, the first-ever, year-long subscription TV package for international cricket.

All other international programming is being offered through DirecTV's WorldDirect platform, which features 39 channels that deliver a wide variety of new programming in multiple foreign languages, including Russian, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Italian and Ukrainian, to underserved ethnic markets throughout the United States.

DirecTV customers will need to use a WorldDirect services satellite dish that is capable of receiving both international and English-language programming. In some markets, customers who subscribe to a local channels package will require a second smaller dish.

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