DirecTV bats for cricket in the U.S.
Sports fans in the US will now have the chance to cheer fours and sixes as much as home runs.
Satellite TV service provider DirecTV Group plans to step off the baseball diamond and onto the pitch by bagging broadcast rights for big-ticket cricket tournaments in 2009.
With an Asian Indian population pushing 3 million in the US, DirecTV is assured of a loyal fan following. Indians are crazy about the game, with the country boasting the largest global cricket audience. Cricketers are feted like pop stars and tote multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals.
DirecTV’s fare includes the one-year old smash hit Indian Premier League (IPL) – which features the shorter Twenty20 version of the game. The money-spinning IPL has caught the imagination of not only fans but also Bollywood superstars and companies who have paid millions of dollars to buy franchisee teams.
In partnership with Willow TV Inc, DirecTV inked multi-year agreements giving it broadcast rights to offer marquee tournaments like the International Cricket Council’s World Cup in 2011 as well as other keenly followed tours and tournaments.
Beginning Feb. 11, U.S. cricket fans can purchase tours at $299.99 for the full season, or at $199.99 for the IPL & ICC World T20 packages, DirecTV said.
The fanfare in the US will start tonight at Times Square in New York with cricket promos running on the Reuters screens in the evening.
(Writing and reporting by Savio D’Souza)