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ATN Presents IPL 2009

March 26, 2009

NEWS RELEASE

 

TORONTO, CANADA March 26, 2009 -- Asian Television Network International Limited (ATN) (TSX-SAT) announced today that it has secured the exclusive Canadian Broadcast rights for the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“IPL is the most exciting new phenomena in World Cricket and we are delighted to acquire the exclusive Canadian broadcast rights," said Shan Chandrasekar, President and CEO of ATN, Canada’s pioneer South Asian Broadcaster. ATN is Canada’s largest distributor of World Class Cricket including the 2007 ICC World Cup and the Twenty-20 World Cup.

The IPL will start on April 18, 2009.   It is a tournament of elite international players in a league of cricket games on par with North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) or National Football League(NFL).  Multinational corporations, entrepreneurs and top Bollywood stars are lending their support to the league’s eight teams. The international broadcasting rights for the IPL 2009 were sold for almost a billon US dollars.

ATN will broadcast the 2009 games live on Pay Per View across Canada on Bell TV (Bell ExpressVu), on Rogers Cable in parts of Ontario, and on Shaw Cable in Western Canada.

"We expect that the extraordinary combination of Cricket, big business and Bollywood stars will again make a massive impact on our television viewers," Mr. Chandrasekar said.

The 2nd season of IPL will be held in South Africa and the opening Ceremony will be held in Cape Town, where the defending champions Rajasthan Royals will play the first game. Johannesburg, Durban, Centurion, Port Elizabeth, East London and Cape Town will also be host venues.

The new league continues to attract high profile investors.  Shilpa Shetty (former Big Brother winner from British Television and Bollywood actress) and a UK businessman have bought a 12 per cent stake in Rajasthan Royals, last year’s winning team which is captained and coached by Shane Warne. They paid $15.4 million USD for their stake, which puts the value of the Rajasthan franchise at around $140 million USD, a significant increase on the $67 million USD that its owners, Emerging Media, paid for it a year ago. Shetty thus becomes the third Bollywood star after Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta to buy a stake in IPL teams.

New players to watch out this year will be English duo Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff who attracted the largest bids at $1,550,000 USD each. Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers made the successful bid for Pietersen while Flintoff joins Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings. They also overtook Dhoni as most expensive players in the IPL. He had fetched $ 1.5 million at Chennai last year.

Ownership of IPL new teams is a mix of high-powered industrialists and the flair and flamboyance of Bollywood. Reliance Industries, for instance, paid $111.9 million USD for the Mumbai team while the United Breweries Group shelled out $111.6 million USD for Bangalore. Chennai Super Kings is owned by India Cements. Actor and film producer Shah Rukh Khan paid $75.09 million USD for Kolkatta. Preity Zinta took Mohali for $76 million USD. Emerging Media associated with Lachlan Murdoch, paid $67 million USD for Jaipur.

The season is scheduled to have about 59 games. The league matches will be followed by two semi-finals and a final match. The aim of the IPL is to broaden the appeal of the game. Since matches will take place in the daytime EST the hope is that families including women and children tune in large numbers to watch this new and very popular Twenty 20 format.

“We are very happy to bring Canadian cricket fans an exciting line-up of matches as international and Indian cricket stars offer the very best in Twenty 20 Cricket,” said Mr. Chandrasekar. “It’s a unique chance to watch elite international players on the same team.”

While Canadians of British heritage have long enjoyed cricket, there is a resurgence of interest in the sport with growing immigration from many countries where cricket garners fanatical followers including South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh) the West Indies, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. South Asians became Canada’s largest visible minority group in 2006, numbering more than 1.2 million people – a 37% increase from 2001.

ATN operates 14 television channels. ATN also operates ATN Asian Radio on XM 159 the only Satellite Radio serving North Americas South Asian Diaspora. ATN video content is also available on any Bell mobile phone that supports video. ATN has programming alliances with leading international broadcasters. To subscribe to ATN and for more details about the cricket schedules and times of live broadcast please visit  www.asiantelevision.com or contact your local service provider.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. We rely on safe harbour provision.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

B. Fulton CFO
Asian Television Network International Limited
Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 7B6
905-836-6460

 

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