The International Cricket Council (ICC) has today unveiled a four-year exclusive media rights partnership in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with Evision, the media and entertainment division of the e& Emirati technology and investment group.
The deal between the ICC and Evision will run up until the end of 2027 and covers the range of top-tier ICC men’s and women’s global events for that cycle. It adds to the broadcast deals the governing body has already unveiled in key markets such as the UK, the US, Australia, India, sub-Saharan Africa, and others.
It is both a broadcast and digital rights tie-up and through it, ICC event matches will be available on the CricLife MAX channel on the StarzPlay streaming service.
This deal represents a rights retention for Evision, with e&’s previous incarnation (Etisalat) having held MENA rights to the range of top-tier ICC events during the last cycle as well.
Invitations to tender had been launched in the MENA region in September.
The partnership begins with the culmination of the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, taking place in South Africa currently.
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Geoff Alllardice, chief executive at the ICC, has said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Evision which is an exciting addition to our suite of broadcast partners. There is already a large cricket fan base across the Middle East and North Africa, but there is a tremendous opportunity to grow the sport further in this strategically important region.”
The most recent deal announced by the ICC covering the 2024-27 cycle came in December when the Amazon Prime Video streaming service snapped up exclusive rights to that period of events for the Australian market.
Deals have yet to be unveiled in the major markets of New Zealand, the remainder of the subcontinent outside India, and the Caribbean, however.
Olivier Bramly, Evision’s chief executive, added: “The broadcast of all ICC cricket events for the next four years is a promise to bring the exhilarating spirit of cricket directly to the hearts of our fans in the MENA region. It is an opportunity to experience immersive cricket like never before, as we elevate the game and unite enthusiasts through every boundary and wicket. Together, we're embarking on a thrilling journey of sporting passion and unparalleled excitement.”
In terms of previous cricketing rights held by Evision, the service covered the Indian Premier League domestic men’s Twenty20 competition last year, while also covering recent ICC events.
The MENA region – especially parts of the Middle East such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – is now home to a significant number of migrants from the Indian subcontinent, many of whom are bringing their love of cricket to a relatively new market.
In recent years, Pakistan have put on a number of ‘home’ matches in the UAE, while in 2021 that country and Oman jointly hosted the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.