Now it's cricket for ESPN Star Sports

Another big-money cricket deal in Asia, and again for the newest shortened form of the sport: Twenty20. And again it is ESPN Star Sports buying up a major competition, following its Formula One win last week.

ESPN Star Sports will pay US$900 million over ten years for pan-Asian rights to the new Championsí League Twenty20 series which will run for just a week a year.

The tournament brings together the winners and losing finalists from local Twenty20 tournaments from India, Pakistan, Australia, England and South Africa. Twenty20 is a format designed for television, with just twenty overs (six balls) bowled for each team's innings, as opposed to fifty overs for one-day internationals, themselves shortened forms of Test cricket, where matches run for up to five days.

ESPN Star Sports beat DICís bid of US$751 million, with another, from Abu Dhabi Sports Club, disqualified for having conditions.

The rights encompass sponsorship of the tournament, plus new media and mobile as well as TV rights. ESPN Star Sports will also pay an additional US$75 million towards marketing the tournament over the ten years of the rights.