India’s ESPN STAR Sports has tied up with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) by announcing a new five-year contract for the exclusive rights to broadcast ECB۪s domestic and home international matches across various platforms, including television (inclusive of mobile TV), Internet and radio.

Apart from covering the core cricket markets of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the contract also gives ESS the broadcast rights throughout West Asia, China, Japan and the rest of Asia.

This welcoming news will prove a huge coup for the channel as it recently launched its cricket centric channel called STAR Cricket.

Talking about the development, RC Venkateish, MD, ESPN says, “This is a very significant acquisition, considering that India-England cricket matches have always generated huge interest in the Indian subcontinent. The excitement generated by the on-going series in England aptly demonstrates this fact.”

ECB chairman David Morgan says, “The ECB is delighted to renew its partnership with ESPN STAR Sports, which has helped further extend the reach of the game by continually setting new standards in cricket presentation and distribution.”

Manu Sawhney, executive vice-president, programming and marketing, ESS, says, “We are delighted to further extend our decade-long relationship with the ECB for another five years, and will continue to provide the best international cricket action to fans across Asia.”

ESPN STAR Sports will broadcast more than 200 days of live international cricket action from England and Wales, including 34 Test matches, 54 one-day internationals and nine Twenty20 games. Over the next five years, all the Test-playing nations will be competing in England, with the Indian team slated to visit in 2011. In addition, ESS will broadcast ECB۪s top-class domestic cricket, including the popular Twenty20 Cup, Provident Trophy, England Lions matches and the Pro40 series.