Sky Sports, the heavyweight UK pay-TV broadcaster, has snapped up rights to the inaugural edition of Indian domestic Twenty20 cricket’s Women’s Premier League.

The deal, announced yesterday (March 1), comes at the eleventh hour, with the first-ever WPL set to begin on Saturday (March 4) and run through until March 26.

This adds to Sky’s existing portfolio of top-tier women’s cricket, which already includes global International Cricket Council (ICC) events, England’s domestic Women’s Hundred, and home internationals played by the English national side. The network recently broadcast the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

Sky was also the UK rightsholder for last year’s men’s equivalent Indian Premier League tournament.

The 2023 WPL runs across 22 days this month and features teams from five cities – Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Lucknow.

In mid-January, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced that it had sold exclusive domestic rights to the WPL between 2023 and 2027 to the leading entertainment network Viacom18, for $116 million.

That figure is the second-largest sum ever paid by a media outlet for broadcast rights to a women’s sports property on its own.

A number of top English players, including Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Bell, and national team captain Heather Knight were picked up across the five franchises during an auction process in February.

Late last month, meanwhile, Indian conglomerate Tata Group secured title sponsorship rights to the WPL.

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