ESS unveils plans for cricket World Cup

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: ESPN Star Sports (ESS) shared plans to make its first marquee property for next year the cricket World Cup 2011 entertaining and engaging.

The tournament will see first of its kind initiatives such as live match coverage by 3G mobile streaming in India. The event will be shot in High-Definition (HD) format. Matches will be covered by 27 cameras including features like movable slips cameras and a new low 45 degree field cameras. The production will also have a mid-wicket camera position for live running between wickets.

Six OB Vans will be used – four in India where a majority of the matches are being held and one each in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – and a team of 350 crew members would be working to bring the match to the viewers‘ homes.

ESS‘ bouquet of networks - ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket - will telecast all the 49 matches of the ICC World Cup, starting on 19 February, 2011. In addition, 37 matches will be simultaneously telecast in Hindi on Star Sports.

The pre and post-match shows will be hosted by ex-players and legends of the game, while live broadcast will feature 30 commentators and studio experts.

On the marketing front, ESS is working closely with ICC for the creative execution and media implementation of the communication campaign – ‘The Cup That Counts‘.

"The 360 degree campaign involves key players from the three host nations and will be breaking in Indian media very soon," ESS MD Manu Sawhney said.

He also claimed that the response from sponsors had been good and corporates like Sony, Pepsi Cola, Maruti, Fiat, and Nokia had been finalised and others were in the process of joining in. The marketing is being done in coordination with ICC and hoardings and TV advertisements had already begun appearing.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 tournament director Professor Ratnakar Shetty said, "It is a big challenge to organise an event of the magnitude of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 spread across thirteen venues in the three host countries, but we will ensure delivery of a world class event. It is great to have the World Cup return to the sub continent after 15 years and we would like to make it an unforgettable experience on ground and for television viewers. With 72 days to go, we are all looking forward to The Cup That Counts.”

On the programming front, ESS has already started initiatives. There are 2,500 hours of lead up programming under various titles including ‘Versus’, ‘World Cup Upsets’, ‘Epic Encounters’, ‘Advantage Australia’, ‘Gameplan’ & ‘Road to the Final’. ESS is also showcasing highlights of all the previous editions of the World Cup.

The production task will involve taking more than 2000 domestic flights along with 350 international ones. More than 13,000 room nights will be consumed by the sports broadcasters’ crew while covering the mega event.

Lorgat said though the Ashes were important, everyone looked out for the World Cup. He said it had been ensured that tickets were affordable and school and college children were also given concessions to come and watch the matches. He said that publicity had also begun by way of hoardings at all venues where test or one-dayers were being held prior to the Cup. For example, the India-South Africa series will be used for this, and the function to mark 150 years of Indian immigration to South African will be observed during this tour.

Shetty said India had hosted the Cup last in 1987 and 1996 under the tutelage of the Board of Control for Cricket, but the ICC would be directly taking charge this time. Three stadiums – Chennai, Wankhede in Mumbai, and Eden Gardens in Kolkata had been renovated with greater facilities for the viewers, media and broadcasters, though he said the stress had not been to increase seating capacity. He expressed his gratitude to the Indian Government for not only relaxing the multi-entry visas for those coming for the Cup but also helping in the initial bid.

Sir Vivian Richards, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Arjuna Ranatunga all of whom captained their countries to World Cup wins attended the media briefing.

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