Channel gets rights to 24 Asian countries

SEOUL – ESPN STAR Sports has reupped its deal to screen Formula One motor racing in most of Asia.

Deal signed by ESS and Formula One Management’s Bernie Ecclestone gives the channel exclusive rights in 24 countries including India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea for the next five seasons.

Agreement underlines changing shape of sportscasting and includes numerous firsts. It is the first time that Formula One rights have been awarded on a platform neutral basis; the first time that radio rights have been included; the first time ESS will have terrestrial rights in a number of markets; and the first time F1™ content will be made available on a linear and non-linear basis.

ESS will soon announce its plans for extended coverage and presentation on Internet, mobile and radio platforms.

“Formula One has enjoyed unprecedented growth in popularity throughout Asia over the last few years and we feel that this comprehensive new agreement with ESS will help continue this trend,” Ecclestone said. This month sees the sport’s first ever night race in Singapore. And in 2010 there will be debut F1 races in India and South Korea.

“(This deal) is an ideal example of how partners can work together to build and grow a property. ESS continues to be committed to further popularize and build the sport of motor racing amongst fans in Asia and we are very confident that now with many new platforms and avenues including internet, mobile and radio, F1 fans in Asia can look forward to the most comprehensive and entertaining experience with us,” Manu Sawhney, MD, ESPN STAR Sports, said.

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