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ESPN says no pact with SCV on free telecast of soccer World Cup

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Jun 7 (UNI) ESPN STAR Sports, which has the exclusive rights for the live telecast of all 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, today announced it has not entered into any agreement with Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), a multi service operator in Tamil Nadu, for live telecast of matches on free-to-air (FTA) channel.

The purported claims by the SCV that it would telecast the world cup matches live on any free channel on the premium band for the benefit of viewers without Set Top Boxes (STB) were ''completely false and misleading,'' an ESPN release here said.

''We have not arrived at any agreement. As things stand, soccer lovers in the Chennai city can enjoy live telecast of FIFA World Cup 2006 only through STBs or through direct-to-home services,'' ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Sricharan Iyengar said in the release.

An SCV spokesperson had announced here yesterday that the MSO had decided to beam the matches live on its FTA channel to enable all their subscribers, especially those without the STBs, to watch the mega sports event.

Chennai was the only city in the country where the Conditional Access System, introduced during the previous NDA regime, was being enforced.

SCV, the largest MSO in Chennai supplying feed to over 60,000 STBs and with several lakh cable connections in the city, had earlier beamed the India-West Indies cricket series, available only on pay channels, on the FTA channel.

ESPN STAR Sports expected the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany to be one of the first non-cricketing events to enjoy an extremely high viewership across India, the release said. The FIFA World Cup is one of the most watched sporting events across the globe with the previous edition having enjoyed a cumulative audience base of 28.8 billion worldwide.

Even in India, the FIFA World Cup 2002 put soccer in a different league, reaching out to a cumulative audience of 30.3 million, it said.

ESPN STAR Sports would telecast the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Hindi and English simultaneously with comprehensive India-specific programming. It would be the first time the event would be telecast in Hindi in India.

The sports broadcaster would have a special Hindi audio feed in addition to English commentary during the live telecast of all the matches, it said.


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