ESPN Star Sports (ESS) and Airtel Digital TV have resolved their differences to ensure the former's premium sports channels are carried once again on the latter's direct-to-home (DTH) TV platform across India.
A multi-year agreement has been signed by ESPN Software India – the distributor of ESS in India – to enable the distribution of Star Cricket, Star Sports, Star Sports 2, ESPN, Star Cricket HD and ESPN HD by the Bharti Airtel-owned DTH operator.
Late last year, Airtel removed the ESPN and Star Cricket HD channels from its platform due to what it said was excessive pricing, and then in March 2013, the remainder of the sports network's channels were deactivated on both Bharti Airtel's DTH and IPTV platforms due to a contractual dispute.
ESPN Star Sports holds a raft of broadcasting rights in India, including matches played under the auspices of the International Cricket Council, international and domestic cricket from the BCCI, Cricket Australia, England and Wales Cricket Board, and the Champions League twenty20.
ESS also holds TV rights in India for a host of prestigious football tournaments including the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italian Serie A, the English FA Cup, and England's international matches. In motorsports, ESS broadcasts Formula 1 and Moto GP races. In tennis, the sports broadcaster showcases Wimbledon and the Australian Open, as well as the Men's ATP Tour/ATP Masters series. Meanwhile, the Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship and the One Asia Tour comprise the network's golfing rights.