Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Chairman, Ronald J Walker, today announced the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had acquired the free to air, pay television and radio broadcast rights for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The last major Commonwealth Games broadcast deal – with 51 days to go before the Opening Ceremony – increases the reach of the Games to an additional 30 million North American viewers, and comes on top of an announcement in late 2005 that Fox Sports in the United States will also take the broadcast.

“I am delighted to welcome the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games rights holder family”, Mr Walker said.

“Today’s announcement confirms the biggest sporting and cultural event Melbourne has ever hosted, will be shown around the world on a grand scale and favourably compares with any major sports event in Australian history”.

Mr Walker confirmed that CBC will screen a daily highlights package as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies on free to air television.

“Given the huge sporting broadcast commitments CBC already has in place for March, this is an outstanding result and will provide tremendous exposure for Melbourne, Victoria and Australia into North America”, Mr Walker said.

“I am also delighted to announce that agreement has also been reached for Cyprus and Nigeria to take the Games feed”.

“We expect Melbourne will be exposed to more than 1.5 billion viewers each day of the Games”.

Today’s broadcast announcement follows Asian Broadcasting Union confirming the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be available to the biggest Asian audience in the history of the sport. For the first time the Games will be seen across parts of Central and South-East Asia including Indonesia, Afghanistan, Timor, Cambodia and Vietnam – all non-Commonwealth nations.

More than 4500 athletes from 71 nations will gather in Melbourne to take part in the XVIII Commonwealth Games. The event is also expected to attract a global television audience in excess of 1 billion people. The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be held from 15-26 March 2006.