EchoStar Wins WC TV Rights

Wed, Jan 8, '03

by HAMLET MARK

WI World Cup

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American satellite TV firm EchoStar, owner of DISH Network, has acquired the World Cup broadcast rights for North, Central and South America (includes the Caribbean).

"DISH Network customers (in North America) can purchase the entire Cricket World Cup 2003 package for $299.95. The World Cup games will be available on DISH Network channels 457/471 and 458/472," EchoStar said in a press release.

DISH Network will exclusively broadcast the World Cup in the United States as a pay-per-view event, it said.

EchoStar said the TV rights covered all the territories of the Caribbean, where it plans to sell sub-licenses to a regional broadcaster like the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), or stations in individual territories.

"The Cricket World Cup is an important and popular international event which is closely followed by people who reside within the cricketing nations, as well as expatriates living abroad," said Michael Schwimmer, senior vice president of Programming. "EchoStar is pleased to be involved in the distribution of the Cricket World Cup into territories located outside of DISH Network's broadcast area, including Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America."

Live coverage of the 54-match tournament kicks off with a two-hour opening ceremony from Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town South Africa on Feb. 8, 2003, and will conclude with a closing ceremony honoring the world champions immediately after the final match from Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on March 23, 2003.

This 2003 Cricket World Cup will include the national teams of Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, West Indies, New Zealand, England, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Kenya, Namibia, Netherlands and host South Africa. Other broadcasters include, Rupavhini in Sri Lanka, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, Pakistan TV in Pakistan, SABC in South Africa, BTV in Bangladesh, Sky Sports in New Zealand, Fox Sports in Australia and Sony Max in India.

* Hamlet Mark is editor of the CaribUpdate Web site.