ESPN pay $1 billion for Twenty20
Lucrative broadcast deal for T20 as Pakistan refuse to give up rights to Champions Trophy.
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2008 12:58 GMT

Western Australian Warriors, yellow, have qualified for the 2008 Twenty20 Champions League [GALLO/GETTY]

ESPN Star Sports will shell out nearly $1 billion for the commercial and marketing rights for the Twenty20 Champions League.

The inaugural tournament will be held in December 3-10 with $6 million in prize money.

It will feature eight teams, two each from Australia, India and South Africa and the champions from the England and Pakistan domestic leagues.

Organisers said the broadcaster had bid $900 million for a 10-year deal, plus some $75 million for marketing.

Big money

"The commercial rights were won by ESPN STAR Sports with a bid of $975 million (including $75 million for marketing the tournament)," organisers said.

"This makes the Champions League Twenty20 the highest value cricket tournament on a per game basis."

The Australian, Indian and South African boards will jointly organise the Champions League, an off-shoot of a lucrative Indian version launched this year.

"We are absolutely delighted that after a fair and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best commercial deal for the inaugural Champions League season and for cricket fans across the world," Lalit Modi, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president said in the release.

Ex-ICC President Ehsan Mani's comments have been unpopular with the PCB [GALLO/GETTY] 
ICC Champions Trophy

Pakistan will not give up its right to host next year's one day international Champions Trophy despite being advised by the International Cricket Council's former president to do so, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said.

Former ICC chief Ehsan Mani was quoted in Pakistan media saying the PCB should have asked the ICC to allocate a major future event in lieu of hosting the biennial Champions Trophy.

The ICC had to postpone the Champions Trophy for 13 months after four leading countries, England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, expressed security concerns about touring Pakistan.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper quoted Mani as saying "I was surprised that till the last the PCB was sticking to its guns to host the Champions Trophy .... it should have given up on the hosting rights and allowed it to shift to some other venue."

PCB adamant

The PCB reacted sharply to Mani's advice.

"It's his point of view but as far as we are concerned, we are not going to the surrender the hosting rights of Champions Trophy," spokesman of the cricket board Mansoor Suhail said.

The Champions Trophy was put back to October 2009, but India's cricket board has expressed reservations over those proposed dates, because it had planned a seven-match one-day international series against Australia at that time.

"These (dates) are all procedural issues which could be resolved with mutual understanding," Suhail said.

Sri Lanka was the alternate venue to host the Champions Trophy, but Pakistan refused to entertain a switch.

Pakistan defiant

Mani, who is a Pakistani, said the ICC could have earned $50 million and every participating team would have received $3.75 million had the tournament gone ahead with a different host.

"Since it was known much before time that some teams were not comfortable
about touring Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, the PCB should have taken
the initiative by asking the ICC to shift it to an alternate venue instead of
postponing it to avoid the financial losses," Mani said.

The ICC's board is scheduled to be meet in Dubai today, where there will be further discussion on the matter.

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