$40 million Asia hit for Windies By Philip Spooner
Guyana Chronicle
July 4, 2003

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WEST INDIES cricket is about to take the Asian market by storm.

That’s because a deal worth US$20 million (BDS$40 million) has been struck between a new sporting network - Ten Sports based in Dubai - to broadcast all international matches in the region to the large, cricket-crazy Asian market.

The deal is done in collaboration with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) Sports, the holders of rights for West Indies broadcasts and who have also been given the exclusive rights for all international cricket played in the West Indies to be shown in Asia.

Asia is a lucrative market for the live telecast of international cricket matches in the Caribbean, with India’s population of over one billion the prime target of producers and broadcasters.

The new deal could be a great tourism boost for the Caribbean and the hope is to have larger numbers making the trip to the region for the 2007 World Cup.

Ten Sports has also acquired telecast rights for Pakistan cricket for the next five seasons, at a cost of US$43 million. They beat bids from ESPN-Star Sports and World Sport Nimbus to seal the Pakistan deal. ESPN-Star was also a bidder for the West Indian rights, but Ten Sports, launched in April 2002, won.

Three years ago, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) sold its worldwide broadcast and Internet rights between 2004 and 2008 to Sky for US$40 million. There was no need for involvement of the WICB in the Ten Sports deal.

It was Sky’s job to search for markets to push the broadcasts of the games in the West Indies. Yesterday, an official from Ten Sports told the DAILY NATION the new set-up did not interfere with the Sky deal, since Ten Sports was simply looking after the broadcasts in Asia.

“We now have the exclusive television rights to Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricket and have also acquired rights to West Indies cricket for the Indian sub-continent and Middle East until 2008,” said Moied Javeed, a spokesman for Ten Sports.

Ten Sports is the primary focus of a group called Taj Television. After just 14 months, the channel is already South Asia’s premier source for sports entertainment, reaching more than 30 million homes.

Ten Sports broadcasts top sports properties including hours of live international cricket, The English FA Cup, French Open Tennis, and highlights of ‘Classic’ cricket from India and Sharjah over the last 20 years. (Daily Nation)