The inaugural broadcaster has been announced as the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

The chairman of Melbourne 2006, Ronald Walker, in Singapore for this appointment and the announcement of the 2012 Olympics host city, celebrated the deal as a first in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

“ABU’s involvement confirms that the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be available to the biggest Asian audience in the history of the Games,” he said.

“It will be the first time the Games will be seen across parts of central and south-east Asia including Indonesia, Afghanistan, Timor, Cambodia and Vietnam.”

Many Asian nations will receive pictures of the greatest athletes of the Commonwealth competing in prime time, increasing the number of viewers receiving the television broadcast of the Games.

Head of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Sport, John Barton, said that this was an historic occasion as the Games were now reaching into Asian territories across a vast area.

“The viewing area totals well over a billion people. It is a very valuable television pool and the Melbourne organisers should be delighted that Victoria’s sporting, cultural and commercial assets will be on display to so many people,” Barton said.

This new investment was welcomed by the Minister for the Games, Mr Justin Madden, claiming it as a success for all involved.

“The excitement is building as we count down towards the biggest sporting and cultural event Melbourne has ever seen, ” Mr Madden said.

“Millions of our Asian neighbours will see Melbourne in all its glory and share in the excitement of the Games.”

Countries to benefit from the ABU deal include Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Mauritius, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Maldives, Philippines, East Timor, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Negotiations for television rights in the Indian market, home of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, will be subject to a separate agreement to be announced shortly.