Zee Entertainment, the Indian media group, has agreed a 10-year deal with the Emirates Cricket Board, the governing body for the sport in the United Arab Emirates, to broadcast the upcoming UAE T20 League, it has been reported.
The deal is variously said to be worth in the region of $100-120 million or as high as $150 million.
According to Indian newspaper The Economic Times, which cites a “highly placed source”, Zee will broadcast the league across around three to four channels, on the ZEE5 streaming service and on the sports channels of the merged organisation following its planned union with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).
That is reported to be in the final stages, and it has previously been reported that Zee and Sony will also target rights to the prestigious Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition once the merger is completed.
Zee’s managing director and chief executive Punit Goenka said last week: “The merged entity will focus on sports. We just finished non-compete in sports with Sony and it's coming full circle.”
The UAE T20 League deal represents Zee’s re-entry into the sports market following the sale of its Ten Sports broadcasting business also to SPN, which was agreed in 2016 and completed the following year.
The league is expected to launch next year and will initially be competed by six franchises playing a total of 34 matches.
Among the franchise owners are Manchester United’s Glazer family and three owners of IPL teams – Reliance Industries, Shahrukh Khan and GMR Group.