Heavyweight UK pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports and subscription platform DAZN have today (March 24) announced an eleventh-hour rights deal for the upcoming 2023 season of franchise Twenty20 cricket’s renowned Indian Premier League (IPL).
This year’s IPL, featuring 10 teams and 74 games, will begin on March 31 and finish on May 28, and Sky and DAZN will each cover every fixture live for a UK and Ireland audience.
Sky has been the exclusive UK home of IPL action since the start of the 2020 season, with this deal marking a retention in that respect, albeit with a loss of exclusivity, while the agreement represents a significant breakthrough into the cricket rights market for DAZN.
BT Sport, Sky’s main competitor for the majority of top-tier overseas cricket action, held rights in 2019.
Bryan Henderson, Sky Sports’ director of cricket, said: “The IPL sees the best players from across the world face off in front of a fanatical local audience in search of glory – resulting in some of the most explosive cricket around.
"We're excited to add even more live action to a busy cricketing summer that features both men's and women's Ashes series, the Vitality Blast, and The Hundred, as well as a number of international series for both England's men's and women's teams.”
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Shay Segev, chief executive at DAZN Group, added: "DAZN is committed to building the world’s ultimate destination for sports fans; this means investing in developing our platform alongside acquiring and delivering premium rights. The IPL is the world’s foremost T20 cricket competition, which features the biggest names in cricket battling it out over 74 matches."
Peter Scrimgeour, analyst at GlobalData Sport, offered his opinion on the deal: “DAZN’s acquisition of IPL rights for 2023, along with the recent launch of its linear channel on the Sky platform, further shows its ambition to become a big player in the UK sports market. With DAZN offering the IPL to its digital customers at no extra cost, its coverage of the cricket league will potentially be the most accessible for IPL fans in the UK.”
Sky is currently showing action from the inaugural edition of the IPL’s women’s equivalent, the Women's Premier League (WPL), for which the final will take place this weekend.
In total, 13 English players will appear at this season’s IPL, including stars such as Joe Buttler, Ben Stokes, Joe Root, and Jofra Archer.
Aside from the WPL, Sky is in the midst of showing an intentional series between South Africa and the West Indies, while BT Sport is airing action from an Australian tour of India.
Domestically, the 2023 IPL will be shown by pay-TV network Star India, owned by Disney.