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ESPN-Star lines up pantheon of cricket to offer World Cup insights

Sharmistha Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

With sports broadcaster (ESS) lining up an array of special shows to keep viewers hooked on during the ICC Cricket World Cup, cricket enthusiasts are all set for a treat.

Apart from the 49 matches to be played across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, ESS has roped in over 30 well-known names from the cricketing world to provide insights, both before and after the matches.

Rathindra Basu, senior director, business development, ESS (South Asia) said, “We had 2,500 hours of lead-up programming for the World Cup, including programmes like Versus, World Cup Upsets and Epic Encounters. Some of these started as early as November last year. Additionally, we are producing 150 hours of original content to give our viewers a holistic experience of the tournament.”

The broadcaster has signed on to host ‘Philips Cricket Extra’. The entire production work will be done from a studio based in Noida. While commentators Dermot Reeve, Simon Hughes and Navjot Singh Sidhu will be stationed at the base studio throughout the season, former captains Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar would also tune in as guest commentators on shows.

Other commentators who will be seen as guests shows include Tony Greig, Tony Cozier, Robin Jackman and Ian Chappell.

For both day and day-night matches, mid-shows and post-shows would be aired for 40 and 60 minutes, respectively. For day matches, pre-shows would be hosted from the venue by Mayanti Langer. She will be accompanied by two guest commentators in each match.

According to industry sources, ESS is spending close to Rs 45 crore for production work. The matches will be telecast on high definition for the first time and will be available on Dish TV, Reliance Big TV and Airtel DTH platforms. Besides, live feed through 3G would be available to Vodafone subscribers. Matches can also be seen on the broadcaster’s official website.

Citing the International Cricket Council, ESS said the event was likely to have a viewership of one billion. Apart from providing English broadcast, 37 matches will be telecast on Star Sports with Hindi commentary. Ashok Malik, Vijay Dahiya, Vivek Razdan, Sunil Vaidya and Sushil Doshi will provide commentary in Hindi.

Every match will be covered by 27 cameras, including innovative features such as a mid-wicket camera position for live running between wickets. ESPN will have a dedicated crew of 350 people and six OB (outside broadcast) teams to cover the event. Of the latter, four will be in India and one each in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

ICC Has 11 commercial partners for World Cup 2011. These are: ESPN (official broadcaster), Hyundai (official car partner), Reliance, Pepsi, LG, Hero Honda, Yahoo, Reebok, Castrol, Moneygram and Fly Emirates.

ESS has also roped in Hero Honda, Vodafone, Sony as joint presenting partners. It has five associate sponsors for the event — Maruti, Nokia, Philips, Pepsi, Airtel Digital TV.

Besides, advertising spots have been bought by around 40

Industry sources estimate ESS stands to rake in around Rs 750 crore in advertising revenues during the tournament.

First Published: Sun, February 20 2011. 00:04 IST