The ECB has sold the 10-year media rights for its newly launched UAE T20 League for a staggering USD 120 million to Essel Group-owned Zee Network. The major talking point of this deal is that the much-anticipated tournament will be telecasted on Sony Network too as the two major TV networks will soon sign a merger deal.
The deal was signed just a week back & the vital negotiator for the deal on behalf of Zee Network was Rahul Johri, the former CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He had joined Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd last year as president – Business, South Asia.
Johri signed the deal after having intense negotiations with Khalid Al Zarooni, chairman of the league and vice-chairman of the ECB. He did not want to comment about the deal but the Essel Group Official explained about the investment. “Given that most players will be internationals, it will be a highly competitive tournament,” the official said.
As Zee has investments in the UAE too, its interest in the media rights will be more than its competitors. After the merger with Sony, it will have a presence in Pakistan as well, through Ten Sports. However, a formal comment from the ECB is awaited.
The six-team league, involving IPL franchises like Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Delhi Capitals, besides Glazer family of Manchester United, Sydney Sixers of Australia, and Dubai-based Capri Global, is scheduled to be held in February and March. The ECB will be allowing the franchises to field 10 foreigners in their playing XI.
The current price for the IPL media rights is the highest in International cricket i.e. 500 million for just one season. Further its price is expected to be elevated when the rights for the next cycle are sold in less than a month.
To give you a glimpse USD 12 million a year deal with leagues such as the Hundred launched last year is believed to be generating GBP 35 million for a season for the home board. Though in India the tournament is streamed through the FanCode app at midnight, its value is not very high. The PSL (Sony) and CPL (Star) value less than half a million in India and the BBL has come to Sony through a package deal.
In 2018, the CA sold the full package of its media rights to Channel Seven and Fox Sports for a combined value of AUD 1.12 billion. Channel Seven pays AUD 450 million of that.