ESPN STAR Sports Serves Up Another Ace With Australian Open Broadcast Rights
Singapore, December 21, 2004 : Australia's biggest sporting event will enjoy an even higher profile in Asia in its Centenary year after ESPN STAR Sports successfully acquired multi-year cable and satellite rights for the first grand slam of the tennis season, the Australian Open. This latest multi-year acquisition further reinforces the network's position as Asia's number one sports broadcaster and tops a stellar list of world-class tennis events already airing on ESPN STAR Sports including Wimbledon and the global Tennis Masters Series.
The broadcast agreement will see daily match coverage supported by a comprehensive package of additional programming including previews and highlights, in many cases in the local language, and tailored for key broadcast markets.
Rik Dovey, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports said, "We are proud to be associated with Australia's biggest sporting event, especially in its Centenary year. Fans can expect coverage of the Australian Open at a level previously unavailable in Asia. The agreement will allow the network to take full advantage of packaging and producing programming in its own style, directly from the grounds with a comprehensive match coverage including daily highlights, analysis as well as profiles of top competitors and Asian contestants.”
He continued, "The conclusion of this agreement is of vital strategic importance as ESPN STAR Sports continues to deliver top-flight programming to viewers across Asia. Rights holders know we have the best distribution of any sports networks in Asia and they appreciate the value we bring to their product not only through having the largest audience, but also the way we present their product, through scheduling, production and expert commentary. They want to see their property continue to grow in Asia and that's why they have committed to work with us on a long-term basis."
Paul McNamee, Chief Executive of the Australian Open said, "The Asian region is hugely important to the future growth of the Australian Open. The partnership with ESPN STAR Sports as the pan-Asian network will be a tremendous asset for the tournament in helping strengthen our positioning as the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific. For example, this deal guarantees the tournament reaching 60 million households in Mandarin in the burgeoning China market alone."
He added, "And supporting this exposure, the tournament already conducts a range of activities in Asia including ball kids trials, junior clinics, coaches workshops and training camps, in an effort to assist the development of the sport in the region."
The Australian Open continues to increase in popularity with the 2004 tournament seeing the second highest attendance on record and the fifth year in succession the tournament has broken the magic 500,000 spectators at Melbourne Park. An additional 1.8 million fans from around the world also logged on to the official website http://www.australianopen.com/ during the fortnight.
On TV, a record 3,830 hours of action (up 11 per cent) from Melbourne Park were broadcast to 182 territories across the globe reaching an amazing 527 million homes with Asia the dominant market taking in excess of 1,500 hours. This represents 41 per cent of total coverage taken from Australian Open 2004.
In Asia, ESPN STAR Sports' tennis coverage is delivered to an upscale audience up to four times that of regional print media. Overall interest in the sport is also showing signs of strong growth with an estimated 167 million viewers tuning into all ESPN STAR Sports' tennis programming.
ESPN STAR Sports’ live coverage of the Australian Open begins on January 17, 2005. Please refer to your local listings for programme schedule.
ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between two of the world’s leading cable and satellite broadcasters, ESPN Inc. and STAR. We are Asia’s complete sports provider reaching over 128 million households for ESPN and over 54 million households for STAR Sports (as of October 2004). We have 13 networks - ESPN Asia, ESPN India, ESPN Taiwan, ESPN Philippines, MBC-ESPN (Korea), ESPN Singapore, ESPN Hong Kong, STAR Sports Asia, STAR Sports India, STAR Sports Taiwan, STAR Sports Singapore, STAR Sports S.E.A and STAR Sports Hong Kong. We bring the world’s premier live sports and leading regional events to viewers 24 hours a day. On the ground, the ESPN STAR Sports Event Management Group manages and promotes premier sporting events around Asia, including the Asian X Games, Futsal World 5’s and the San Miguel Asian 9Ball Tour. On-line, espnstar.com, espnstar.com.cn and espnstar.com.tw interact with millions of users providing them with in-depth sports news, results and competitions. This multilingual, online platform which is closely integrated with ESPN and STAR Sports on air networks, has established the sites as the number one on-line sports destination in their respective markets.
For further information, please contact:
ESPN STAR Sports
Stephenie Vasko, Director, Marketing Communnications, ESPN STAR Sports, Tel +65 64886 126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheryl Sim, Manager, Marketing Communications, ESPN STAR Sports, Tel +65 64886 134 or email email@example.com
John Lindsay, Media and PR Manager, Tennis Australia Tel +61 (0)3 9272 1022 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org