21 June 2004, Singapore : Asia’s top pool exponents will join other world masters in Taiwan next month, as the World Pool Championships 2004 cue up for the first time in Asia on July 10 to 18.

ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s number one sports broadcaster, is the exclusive Asian broadcaster of the event and will deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the tournament on Asian television. Pool enthusiasts can look forward to more than 60 hours of live coverage as telecast of the competition reaches more than 57 million subscribers LIVE on STAR Sports and 128 million subscribers on ESPN.

ESPN STAR Sports will package and produce programming of the event directly from Taipei. Over 13 channels around the world, including BSKYB in the UK, Fox World in the United States and Fox Sports in Australia among others, will take this comprehensive coverage. ESPN STAR Sports’ live feed will also be carried on channels in Canada, Japan, Hungary, Holland, Latin America, Russia and Scandinavia.

The event will roll out on July 10 and run for nine days with the final championship match taking place on July 18.

Defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany will be back to defend his title. He will be joined by 127 players from an estimated 40 countries, who will go head to head for the top prize of US$75,000 from a total prize purse of US$350,000.

The 2004 competition promises to be the best yet as the world’s top pool exponents including past champions Earl Strickland of the USA, Mika Immonen (Finland) and Efren Reyes of the Philippines vie for the title.

At least 33 players from Asia are taking part in this year’s tournament, including 10 players who qualified through the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour which concluded in Manila, Philippines in May. The tour, which was staged and organised by ESPN STAR Sports was the only ranking event in Asia for players to qualify for the World Pool Championships.

Says Richard Young, Vice President, Events Management Group and Programme Development at ESPN STAR Sports, ‘ESPN STAR Sports is proud to be the exclusive broadcaster of the World Pool Championships in Taiwan. Pool is captivating audiences across Asia. With a growing number of Asian players competing against the world’s best and claiming the World championships, demand for pool programming has grown significantly in this region. We are delighted to lend our broadcast expertise to this event to give pool fans complete coverage of the World Pool Championships. Our top notch production and far reaching distribution will show once again that ESPN STAR Sports is Asia’s most complete provider of sports programming.’

The tournament, which for the past five years was staged in Cardiff, Wales is held for the first time in Asia this year.

Host country Taiwan is no stranger to pool. Taiwanese players have repeatedly established brilliant records in international pool competitions. Among them, former world champion Chao Fong-Pang took home the World Professional Pool Championships (WPCC) in 1993 and 2000. Yang Ching-Shun won third place in the same tournament two years ago.

Pool enjoys a sizeable and growing audience in Asia with an estimated 38.8 million cable viewers tuning in to watch last year’s World Professional Pool Championships on STAR Sports, In the metered markets of India, Taiwan and Singapore, the event attracted 17 million cable viewers.

For further information, please contact:
Stephenie Vasko, ESPN STAR Sports tel: (65) 6488 6126 or email: vaskos@espnstar.com
Cheryl Sim, ESPN STAR Sports tel: (65) 6488 6134 or email: simc@espnstar.com