The International Cricket Council (ICC) governing body has today unveiled a significant eight-year extension to its commercial deal with Emirates Airline.

Through the renewed tie-up, Emirates will continue as an ICC premier partner through 2031, with the agreement covering 28 men’s and women’s events.

The deal has been announced by the two parties (both based in Dubai) with the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup set to begin on June 1, running across the US and Caribbean until June 29.

Emirates and the ICC first partnered in 2002, before the airline transitioned to an official event sponsor in 2007.

At the 20-team World Cup, Emirates will again hold exclusive naming rights to the ICC’s elite umpires and match referees panel, with match officials set to appear during games with Emirates branding on their clothing.

The airline’s branding will also be present on the stadium big screen during third-umpire and Decision Review System incidents.

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In addition, cricket’s governing body has said Emirates will “take up a greater presence on the ICC’s digital platforms,” while the airline will also put its name to “a bite-size showcase of the best fielding highlights from ICC events,” available to fans each day throughout World Cups and other major tournaments.

Cricket fans on Emirates flights, meanwhile, will continue to be able to watch ICC content via the in-flight entertainment system, while the Emirates brand will also have a presence on the metaverse, through the ICC’s online fan zone.

This extension comes with the ICC having disclosed similar deals in recent weeks with Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco, Indian NFT platform FanCraze, and global logistics heavyweight DP World (the most recent announcement).

The previous ICC commercial cycle ended following the last men’s major event, the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India late last year.

This month has also seen reports that Indian tire brand MRF has ended its commercial deal with the ICC.

It has been reported that MRF has opted not to extend its tie-up through the next cycle, which starts with the T20 World Cup.

Various Indian media reports cited MRF as believing that the tournament being played in the US and Caribbean is not suitable for the interests – because of the time difference – of subcontinental brands.

The ICC is also using the last few days before the T20 World Cup gets underway to tie up some last-minute media rights deals.

Today, for example, has seen the Dubai-based body announce that UK and Ireland audio rights to its major events in the 2024-27 cycle will be held by the BBC public-service broadcaster.

This deal, which will cover all ICC senior men's and women’s events, as well as the latter stages of under-19 tournaments, begins on June 1 with the opening game of the T20 World Cup – US vs Canada.

In addition, the BBC will also be responsible for producing the audio world feed throughout this partnership. Fans worldwide will, therefore, be able to tune into BBC audio commentary of ICC events.

The ICC, which has primarily been concluding TV rights deals for the next cycle in recent months, launched a tender for audio rights in key markets (the UK, Australia, and India) in late March.

The tender contains three packages – analog, digital, and audio streaming rights in the UK and Ireland; the same rights in Australia; and audio streaming rights in India.

World feed production was also included as an option.

The BBC will make match commentary and a live feed available digitally, and via the 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.