The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has purchased the 10-year media rights for the future UAE T20 League from Essel Group-owned Zee Community, which is a significant improvement. The deal was struck for a whopping USD 120 million. Zee Community and Sony Photos Community, two of India’s most popular television networks, are expected to join soon.
As a result, Sony Sports activity networks will broadcast the T20 match. According to prior experience, the deal was concluded in less than a week, and President Rahul Johri, the former CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was the key negotiator for Zee. He had joined the broadcasting agency as president – Enterprise, South Asia, just a year ago.
The UAE T20 League would include six teams, including Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, and Kolkata Knight Riders from the Indian Premier League (IPL). Sydney Sixers of the Big Bash League, Manchester United’s Glazer family, and Dubai-based Capri Global are the other clubs in the competition, which will take place in February-March next year.
According to reports, Johri signed the contract after talks with Khalid Al Zarooni, the ECB’s vice-chairman and the league’s chairman. While Johri declined to comment on the agreement, an Essel Group executive outlined the tournament’s dynamics. The official was cited as saying, “Given that the majority of the players will be internationals, it will be a highly competitive competition.”
The IPL media rights are now the most expensive in world cricket, costing a stunning USD 500 million for a single season, and the price is projected to rise further when the rights for the next cycle are auctioned in less than a month.
To put the USD 12 million-per-year deal with other leagues in context, The Hundred, which debuted last year, is thought to attract GBP 35 million for a season for the home board.
Its worth is not very great in India, as evidenced by the internet portal FanCode late evenings. In India, the PSL (Sony) and CPL (Star) are worth less than half a million rupees each, and the BBL was acquired as part of a package transaction by Sony.
The possibility of a pandemic looming in the background should also not be a concern, with the UAE demonstrating its ability to create a bio-secure bubble during the IPL and the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The planned league will also provide UAE cricketers another platform to show off their skills. During the Abu Dhabi T10 League, UAE players stood out with some outstanding performances.
“We regard this League as another top addition to our burgeoning event schedule,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, vice chairman of the ECB and a board member of the Asian Cricket Council.
“Emirates Cricket, and the UAE as a whole, has a track record of finding and implementing measures that support the game’s development while also encouraging and developing home-grown talent,” he added.
With the UAE’s geographical location and experience hosting the IPL and PSL, there will be no shortage of international players.