ESS confirms Premier League rights for South Asia

ESPN Star Sports has extended its agreement with the FA Premier League to deliver the live and exclusive broadcast of the Barclays English Premier League for the Indian subcontinent through 2010. The agreement grants ESS the right to broadcast 370 matches per season throughout India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Mongolia and the Maldives via television, broadband and mobile technologies.

The announcement comes four days after ESS declared its acquisition of the same EPL rights for 12 key South East Asian countries. This win is an affirmation of the longstanding partnership between ESS and the FAPL.

“Our Company has been the catalyst for increasing the popularity of the EPL in India, ordinarily a cricket crazy nation. Our world class studio shows, intensive marketing campaigns, and localisation efforts including the introduction of Hindi commentary have made the EPL a highly watched sports property. We are very excited to continue our efforts to deliver the best of English football to the growing breed of football fans across India and the subcontinent. Our strong relationship with the FAPL has been built on our commitment to grow the EPL brand via live matches and over 400 hours annually of original, football programming," said Jamie Davis, Managing Director of ESS.

“Through our television channels, our website, and our wireless platform mobileESPN, ESPN Star Sports delivers sports into the lives of our viewers any time, any place through any pipe and any device,” he added.

Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore said: “ESPN Star Sports has indeed played a key role in growing the EPL brand in India. Their commitment to sports and to the EPL specifically gives us the confidence that this is the right partnership for the Premier League. As we move into an age of new media and all the flexibility and possibilities that come with this new technology, we are certain that this relationship will continue to flourish to the benefit of fans across the subcontinent.”

ESPN STAR Sports’ array of original support programming for the EPL includes Nokia Football Crazy, Football Focus, Goals, Tiger FC Locker Room, Here We Go, Tiger First Edition and Football Extra. Over 200 million viewers across Asia tune into the EPL matches and packaged programmes each week. This season’s addition of Club EPL, Paula’s Perfect Ten and Jamie’s Greatest Hits further expands the overall football demographic to target women and youth.

“EPL is a rage among the younger generation in the country. The younger audience in India identifies as much with Wayne Rooney and John Terry as they do with Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Dhoni. Keeping the young fans in mind we plan to enhance our EPL offering on mobileESPN substantially. Football fans can look forward to getting live scores, match schedules, player statistics, contests and much more from mobileESPN going forward”, said Sricharan Iyengar, Vice President, New Media and Marketing, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd.