The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Board today announced ESPN STAR Sports as its global media and production partner for its audio-visual rights for ICC Events from late 2007 to 2015.

The decision was a unanimous one, taken by the ICC Board in Dubai today, and the ICC will now seek to reach final agreement with ESPN STAR Sports.

While the final figure on the agreement will not be disclosed, it is significantly in excess (reportedly for a staggering $1.1 billion) of the ICC’s previous commercial deal.

That deal, with the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), included sponsorship rights as well as the audio-visual component and was worth US$550 million for the years 2000 to 2007.

Included in the new eight-year period are 18 ICC tournaments with two ICC Cricket World Cups, in Asia (2011) and Australasia (2015), and a minimum of three ICC Champions Trophy tournaments.

Also included are the first two ICC Twenty20 World Championships, in South Africa (2007) and England (2009), the latter taking place in the ICC’s centenary year.

And there are Cricket World Cup qualifiers, four ICC U/19 Cricket World Cups, and, for the first time, the Women’s Cricket World Cup, with two tournaments scheduled for 2009 (Australia) and 2013 (India) in the eight-year timeframe.

Commenting on the decision to name ESPN STAR Sports as its preferred bidder, ICC President Percy Sonn said: “We are absolutely delighted that, after an open and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best deal for cricket.

“All the bids we received were of a very high standard and we would like to thank the unsuccessful organisations for their submissions.

“However, the Board was unanimous in the view that the ESPN STAR Sports bid was the best, and we believe all of our 97 Members will gain significant benefit from an agreement with ESPN STAR Sports.

“The revenue that will come into the game as a result of this deal will ensure every one of those Members will be able to plan for the future with certainty, allowing us to make our strong sport even stronger.

“ESPN STAR Sports has an outstanding reputation as a sports broadcaster and we are delighted that we have found an outstanding partner to provide coverage of the game for the next eight years.

Jamie Davis, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, said: “This acquisition affirms our commitment to the Indian sub-continent and the world and we are absolutely delighted to bring the exciting line-up of ICC Events to millions of cricket fans globally.

“Our company has done pioneering work in showcasing cricket in an entertaining and informative way and we will continue to innovate and extend the excitement of cricket through to 2015.

“We are honoured to have been selected as the ICC’s Global Partner,” he added.

ESPN STAR Sports is jointly owned by News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company.