Sony Pictures Network (SPN) have joined with Abu Dhabi T10 as their official broadcast partner for the next three years, to bring the unique cricket extravaganza to a worldwide viewership of nearly a billion fans.
Under the agreement, all twenty-nine Abu Dhabi T10 matches as well as the opening day Bollywood concert will be telecast live to Sony Network’s India’s massive viewer base of 700 million on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 channels. In addition, Sony Liv and Jio will allow another 300 million viewers to live-stream the tournament on their mobile phones through their OTT platforms, bumping potential viewership numbers for the event to truly astronomical levels.
The move comes as the next strategic step in positioning the Abu Dhabi T10 franchise as a truly world-class sporting spectacle, after moving to the United Arab Emirates’ capital and forging key partnerships with local government entities there.
The prime mover behind the deal and the originator of the only ICC-sanctioned ten-over cricket league in the world, T10 Sports Management Chairman Shaji Ul Mulk, spoke glowingly about the significance of ten-over cricket and the new broadcast partnership:
“This is a very fast format and I’m sure children will take a liking towards the league. It is like watching a football match, the action is over in 90 minutes and there is lot of drama and entertainment. It is the next big thing in the world of cricket. As the format gathers more fans, we want to make sure that no one is left disappointed and so we have partnered with Sony Network and Jio to telecast the cricket extravaganza live on their platforms.”
In addition to its massive subscriber base, Sony brings broadcast expertise and strong credentials to its part of the deal. Sony Network is the premier destination for cricket in India, with rights to eight international cricket boards including England and Wales Cricket Board and was also the official broadcaster of the recently concluded Ashes.
On Monday, Sony representatives and Abu Dhabi T10 officials mingled with celebrities and cricket superstars to celebrate the partnership deal. England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and former India speedster Zaheer Khan were on hand as official ambassadors for the Abu Dhabi T10, which is set to kick off from 14 November 2019 to 24 November 2019 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the UAE capital.
Morgan spoke of the shift in perception with the new deal and the move to Abu Dhabi:
“More people are watching because it’s a faster game and we’re playing in a city that loves to do things big. Big stars, big audiences, big action on the pitch. And players love playing in Abu Dhabi because it represents an audience that loves one-of-a-kind entertainments. That’s T10 in a nutshell.”
For this year’s Abu Dhabi T10, eight teams will face each another in 29 action-packed matches across 10 days. The star-studded line-up of international cricket talent shines a light on the game’s global appeal, with the likes of Australian icons Shane Watson and Cameron White, West Indians Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo; Sri Lankan duo Angelo Matthews and pacer Lasith Malinga; and Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad and Rashid Khan all set to participate in November.
The global appeal of cricket and the attraction of Abu Dhabi as a travel and sporting destination create a winning formula for local government stakeholders, as well, including the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, according to CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, Matthew Boucher:
“This media agreement is truly unique, broadcasting the destination of Abu Dhabi to over 700 million homes in India via 6 of the most renowned television and streaming channels in India.
“Together with the Department of Culture & Tourism Abu Dhabi we are thrilled to be partnering with Sony Pictures Network to amplify the Abu Dhabi T10 broadcast so comprehensively into one of our key source tourism markets.”
With potential viewership numbers approaching those of elite global sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, some have speculated that the T10 format may play a key role in taking cricket to the Olympics as an official competitive sport.
Former Indian pacer, Zaheer Khan, said, “The success of Abu Dhabi T10 can lead to greater things for cricket. As more people enjoy the game live or on TV, this can lead to greater development and the spread of cricket to other non-traditional countries.”
During the first season of the league Kerala Knights were crowned as champions while the second season saw Northern Warriors come out on top. This year with more international stars coming into the league, fans can expect more entertainment on the field with the level of cricket set to improve manifolds.