ESPN acquires Commonwealth Games rights in USA for first time in 2018
By Jonathan Rest
The Commonwealth Games are to be aired in USA by ESPN, the sports broadcaster, for the first time in 2018, when Gold Coast, Australia, plays host, Sportcal has learned.
It is unknown what plans ESPN has for the games, albeit it is likely to have a heavy streaming focus.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne were the first to be televised in USA, on Fox. Four years later, at the games in Delhi, Video Sound, the channel that mainly broadcasts Bollywood films, held US rights, while daily highlights of the 2014 games in Glasgow were shown by CBS Sports, the US sports television network.
US viewers were also able to watch live streaming of the Glasgow games on the Commonwealth Games Federation’s channel on YouTube, the Google-owned live streaming and video sharing website.
Live content was offered in the US market, partly in a bid to accommodate the interest of college sports students and fans, who play or follow some of the disciplines.
The CGF is selling the broadcast rights for Gold Coast 2018 and future Commonwealth Games itself, as part of a new commercial approach outlined in Transformation 2022, its seven-year roadmap.
Other deals done by the CGF for Gold Coast 2018 include agreements with: Seven Network (Australia); TVNZ (New Zealand); and Ten Sports (Indian sub-continent).
The 2018 Commonwealth Games run from 4 to 15 April.