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ZEE signs exclusive media rights deal for Emirates Cricket Board’s UAE T20 League

Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday announced signing of a long-term global media rights deal with Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) for its upcoming property, UAE T20 League.

As part of the deal, the league will be live telecast across ZEE’s 10 linear channels in English, Hindi, and Tamil language, as well as simultaneously streamed on ZEE5.

On November 30, last year, ET first reported that ZEE was making a comeback into sports broadcasting by signing a 10-year media rights deal with the ECB for their upcoming UAE T20 League. The deal, pegged at around $100-120 million, was signed just after ZEE completed its non-compete for sports with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).

UAE’s T20 League will see six teams competing in a 34-match competition. The teams are bought by , Adani Sportsline, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lancer Capital, GMR Group and .

“Nothing can be more satisfying than to have a credible broadcast partner like ZEE associated with the League,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, chairman, UAE’s T20 League. “I am thankful to both Punit Goenka and Rahul Johri for having faith in this League and to grow into a commercially successful enterprise. It is further a matter of delight that ZEE has decided to re-enter sports broadcast with UAE’s T20 League being the first media rights acquisition. We are very confident that ZEE has the strength of viewership to take our League to unmatched levels.”

Rahul Johri, president – Business, South Asia at ZEE, said, “We are delighted to be the official global media rights holder of UAE’s T20 League. We believe that the League, which is already attracting the biggest cricket stars and team franchisees globally, will provide fantastic cricket and entertainment to viewers across the world.”

Unlike the Indian

League (IPL), the Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League or other similar format leagues, which cap international players in the playing squad at four or five players, the UAE T20 League is likely to allow the maximum number of international players – up to eight – in the playing 11.

“We recognise and appreciate the massive reach of ZEE’s channels and their digital media platform which will benefit the League in terms of viewership,” said Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary, ECB. “The tournament will also provide a valuable platform for Emirates Cricket to develop the local talent and to provide players the opportunity to train and play alongside the world’s best.”

In 2017, ZEE had sold its sports business, TEN Sports, to SPN for approximately Rs 2,400 crore and signed a five-year non-compete clause. Earlier this year, the two companies have signed definitive agreements to merge operations and are waiting for regulatory approvals.

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