ESPN STAR Sports bags Champions League's Commercial Rights

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Dubai, Sep 11, (UNI) ESPN STAR Sports has secured the ten-year Commercial Rights for the Champions League Twenty20 scheduled to be held from December 3 to 10 this year.

The deal gave ESPN STAR Sports the exclusive Global Commercial Rights for all the matches of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 season and for all further seasons until 2017.

The Commercial Rights were won by ESPN STAR Sports here yesterday with a bid of 900 million dollars. This makes the Champions League Twenty20 the highest value cricket tournament on a per game basis.

Bids were also received from Abu Dhabi Sports Club and DIC for what is viewed as the most exciting sporting extravaganza for cricket fans all over the world.

All the bids were opened here yesterday. While DIC's bid was 751.3 million dollars, Abu Dhabi Sports Club's bid was disqualified for being a conditional bid.

Chairman and Commissioner of Indian Premier League Lalit Modi said, ''We are absolutely delighted that after a fair and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best commercial deal for the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 season and for cricket fans across the world.'' ''All the bids received were of a very high standard and we would like to thank all of the organisations that participated and for their submissions,'' he added.

The three founding member boards - BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa - had already announced the dates for the inaugural edition.

Eight teams, consisting of the reigning winners and runners-up from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in India, Australia and South Africa, plus the winners of 2008 Twenty20 championships (to be held in October 2008) from Pakistan, and the reigning Twenty20 Cup champion from England, Middlesex, have been invited to contest the 2008 Champions League Twenty20.

The tournament will be contested by 12 teams in year two between September 25 and October 10, 2009.

The prize money of 6 million dollars will be shared between the teams and their players.

Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia James Sutherland said, ''With ESPN STAR Sports as our Commercial Rights partner we are now certain this fantastic new competition will reach discerning cricket fans across the globe.

''The Champions League Twenty20 will build on the success of domestic Twenty20 leagues in Australia and elsewhere in a manner which accelerates the development of cricket globally,'' he added.

ESPN STAR Sports Managing Director Manu Sawhney said, ''We're extremely pleased at having won the Global Commercial Rights to the new and exciting Champions League Twenty20.

''This is a testament to our commitment to the game of cricket and fans as we cement our relationship with the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

The Governing Council of the event together with its founding cricket boards believes that the significant prize money to be shared by teams and players will ensure that the benefits of the event will foster cricket's development by injecting new funding into domestic-level cricket and at the same time will handsomely reward domestic-level cricketers and provide a unique opportunity for a higher public profile for players at the level below international cricket.

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