The exclusive multi-platform rights for the three seasons from 2012-13, which will also include the option to broadcast games in 3D, came with a pledge from the broadcaster that “fans…can look forward to improved kick-off times to suit Asian audiences on ESPN Star Sports”.
A switch to earlier kick-off times on weekends could put La Liga on a collision course with the Barclays Premier League, which is also broadcast via ESPN Star Sports’ platforms. The Premier League has an established early afternoon four-hour slot of action on Saturdays and a near five-hour block of prime-time programming in Asian prime time on Sundays. Big Spanish football matches have until now been scheduled for later on Saturdays and Sundays.
Under the terms of the deal, ESPN Star Sports will be able to provide coverage of up to 380 games across its channels in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and North Korea. English language broadcasts can also be provided in China and South Korea. Aside from the Premier League, ESPN Star Sports also airs the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and England home matches as well as major tournaments from the Asian Football Confederation.
“This acquisition underlines our commitment to football fans in the region as we continue providing the most compelling content to our viewers and an excellent promotional platform for our business partners,” said ESPN Star Sports managing director of Asia, Manu Sawhney. “We have established a strong tradition in building and strengthening top-class football properties on our networks with the reach of our networks, multiple media platforms, world-class match presentation and our continued focus towards original, localised football programming and innovative marketing campaigns.”
Gerard Romy, managing director of La Liga media partner Mediapro, added: “We are delighted be working with an organisation that is world-renowned for quality sports broadcasting. We are pleased with their commitment to showcase La Liga across new media platforms in order to extend the profile of this great football league. We have every confidence that they will provide coverage for La Liga in an exciting and innovative manner.”