The 10-year media rights for the upcoming UAE T20 League have been sold by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for a startling amount of USD 120 to Zee Network owned by Essel Group.
Sony sports will be telecasting the tournament which is a remarkable outlook of the deal. Moreover, the grand merger between India’s two major TV networking companies- Sony and Zee- is expected soon to be completed. It is being predicted that Sony was not a part of the bidding.
The reports from Cricbuzz tell that the deal was signed about a week ago. The former CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rahul Johri was the chief negotiator on behalf of the broadcaster. He had joined as president – Business South Asia at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd last year.
The deal was closed and signed by Johri and Chairman of the league and Khalid Al Zarooni and vice-chairman of the ECB after some negotiations. He did not prefer revealing the details but Essel Group official spoke about the investment and said “Given that most players will be internationals, it will be a highly competitive tournament.”
As a formal statement from ECB is still awaited but it is known that Zee’s interest in the property may seem to be more than its competitors, apart from the fact of investments Zee made in the middle east. And it is expected that after the Sony-Zee merger, its presence will also be shown in Pakistan, through Ten Sports.
The league is booked to be held in February and March with the six-team, involving Sydney Sixers of Australia, IPL franchises like Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, and Mumbai Indians, besides Dubai-based Capri Global, and Glazer family of Manchester United. The franchises will be allowed to field 10 foreigners in the playing XI by the ECB.
The IPL media rights currently are leading with the highest price of about a staggering USD 500 million in the cricket world for one season. The said price is expected to boost and make an increase further in less than a month when they sell the rights for the next cycle.