ICC to beam World T20 in record 216 countries

May 26th, 2009 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The soaring popularity of Twenty20 cricket has prompted the International Cricket Council (ICC) to expand its base and reach a record 216 countries through television coverage in World Twenty20 beginning in England from June 5.
The inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 was a huge success. India, the financial hub of the sport, won the Championship and soon Twenty20 cricket became the new flavour in the cricket mad nation.

It not only created a new and younger fan base for the sport but also entered the unexplored markets of China and America where there was no existence of the traditional five-day Test and One-dayers.

It also gave birth to lucrative Twenty20 tournaments like Indian Premier League (IPL). ICC is looking to cash in on the popularity and enter new markets like Russia with this year’s World Twenty20.

“We expect the ICC World Twenty20 to be the most viewed cricket event in the history of the game, which is a significant achievement considering it is just the second-ever staging of this event,” said Campbell Jamieson, ICC General Manager, Commercial.

“Through its various broadcast partners worldwide, this event can be viewed in 216 countries.”

“If the current trends are anything to go by, we expect that this event will continue to grow and become even bigger in the future. At the inaugural edition in 2007 in South Africa, the ratings were very high not just in the Indian subcontinent, which always has a huge cricket following, but across all participating countries and beyond,” he said.

“China is an important country for us and we know that Twenty20 can make cricket popular there. We would be also entering completely new destinations like Russia with this World Twenty20.

“We expect a 30 to 40 percent increase in viewership this time. Despite the economic slowdown, the game has never been in such a strong position globally as it is today. The tickets for most number of days are already sold-out.”

R.C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Star Sports, ICC’s global media right and broadcast partners, said they will be aiming a wide viewer base.

“It will be telacast in 216 countries across the world. This is almost double of what we achieved in the 2007 edition. Even in terms of on-air sales, we have written 80 per cent more revenue as compared to the last edition. We have signed 10 sponsors and an additional 20 corporates for spot-buys on live as well as pre-post programming,” he said.

“We had set huge benchmarks in the inaugural edition of the ICC World Twenty20 and we are confident that we will raise the bar this time again.”

The semi-finals and finals of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 which will run parallel to the men’s event will also be telecast live.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, who will be in commentary panel of the tournament, said that Twenty20 is the perfect vehicle for cricket to reach the global audience.

“Imagine me teaching cricket to an American, it will take me more than two months to make him understand the rules of Test cricket. Its so complex. But Twenty20 is so simple, anybody can follow it.”

He also said that back-to-back Twenty20 tournaments will not distract the viewers.

“It is just about three hours. And World T20 will be different because it will be nation vs nation. I am sure people will come out in large numbers to see the matches.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |