Indian league agrees $1bn rights deal

The Indian cricket board’s official Twenty20 League (IPL) has secured a 10-year rights contract worth more than $1-billion ahead of its launch in April, organisers said on Monday.

Sony Entertainment and the Asia-based World Sports Group (WSG) are behind the deal.

Television rights were worth $918-million, with another $100-million bid for the league’s promotion.

“We are absolutely delighted ... we have what we believe to be the best deal for the Indian Premier League and Indian cricket fans,” board vice-president Lalit Modi said in a statement.

The league, expected to feature many of the game’s top players, is an effort to counter an unofficial Indian Twenty20 league whose inaugural edition was held late last year.

The 44-day IPL starts on April. 18 and will feature eight franchises in its inaugural season, each squad containing 16 players.

Teams will play home and away games leading up to a grand final.
The first year will feature 59 matches played in late afternoon for prime-time television.

Kunal Dasgupta, chief executive of Sony Entertainment Television India, said: “At Sony Max and WSG we have done some pioneering work in showcasing cricket in an entertaining and informative way and we will continue to innovate and extend the excitement of cricket through the IPL.” - Reuters

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