The ESPN Malaysian Sports Centre will begin operation in April, showcasing international and local sporting events.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said Monday the 30-minute programme will be shown five times daily, with two live telecasts and three repeat broadcast programmes.

The ministry officials would be part of the ESPN Sports Centre editorial team, thus enabling them to decide on the news content, she told reporters after witnessing the signing of an agreement between her ministry and ESPN on the establishment of the sports centre in Kuala Lumpur, at her ministry, here.

“We are confident that the Malaysian version of the sports centre will have a positive impact on all sports-loving Malaysians who would enjoy following their heroes on a show with renowned high production standards,” she said.

She said the ministry’s aim to create sporting icons and promote the sporting culture in Malaysia would be better served with this partnership.

This is ESPN’s third sports centre in Asia after Hong Kong and Singapore.

Malaysia is home to world-beaters such as Nicol David (squash), Shalin Zulkifli (bowling), Lee Chong Wei (badminton) and Siti Zalina Ahmad (lawn bowls).

In addition, Malaysia plays host to a number of international sporting events annually, including Le Tour de Langkawi, Formula One Grand Prix, A1 Grand Prix and MotoGP, Monsoon Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament and the World Badminton Championships.

Youth and Sports Ministry Secretary General Datuk Mohamed Yasmin Salleh and ESPN Star Sports Managing Director Jamie Davis signed the agreement on behalf of their organisations.

Asked on the cost involved, Azalina said it was a joint-venture project between her ministry and the Tourism Ministry as part of the programme to promote the country.

Davis said the programmes will be produced by Malaysians for Malaysians.