beIN MEDIA GROUP expands its cricket offering through acquisition of England & Wales Cricket Board rights
• beIN MEDIA GROUP acquires exclusive rights to broadcast England & Wales Cricket Board content in MENA region
• Unveils plans to launch a dedicated cricket channel in 2018
The best of English cricket will soon be broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) following a deal signed today by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and broadcaster beIN MEDIA GROUP.
Under the six-year deal, beIN MEDIA GROUP will screen premium cricket clashes including India’s 2018 and 2022 tours to England, as well as the Ashes series in the UK in 2019. beIN MEDIA GROUP last week announced an exclusive deal to broadcast Cricket Australia content in the MENA region, starting with the 2017-18 Ashes on 23 November.
Adding to the international matches, the ECB deal means beIN MEDIA GROUP will screen selected matches from ECB’s domestic programme including action from the T20 Blast, Royal London One-Day Cup and the Specsavers County Championship – as well as ECB’s new eight-team T20 competition from 2020.
Alongside the agreement, beIN MEDIA GROUP has announced plans to introduce a dedicated beIN SPORTS cricket channel in the MENA region in 2018. The channel will screen the broadcaster’s portfolio of premium international and domestic cricket, including ECB and Cricket Australia content, as well as original programming, documentaries and magazine shows.
Today’s agreement with the ECB will cover the home international programme for both England’s men’s and women’s teams across all three formats of the game. All ECB games will be available in HD via subscription channels and online. Cricket fans in MENA can also look forward to watching selected games in Ultra HD over the coming years with the recent launch of beIN MEDIA GROUP’s 4K channel.
beIN MEDIA GROUP will broadcast cricket in more than 24 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
Today’s deal expands beIN MEDIA GROUP’s premium cricket offering and follows a number of rights renewals over the past six months, including the exclusive rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League and Europa League in the MENA region for a further three years.
Commenting on the announcement, Yousef Al-Obaidly, Deputy CEO, beIN MEDIA GROUP, said:
“Today’s announcement strengthens beIN MEDIA GROUP’s sports portfolio, bringing more of the world’s best cricket to fans across the Middle East and North Africa.
“We are thrilled to partner with the ECB at such an exciting time for English cricket, building on a similar agreement signed this month with Cricket Australia. Together, these acquisitions and the upcoming launch of our dedicated cricket channel will deliver high quality, in-depth cricket coverage to the rapidly growing audience in the MENA region.
“These agreements are the latest in our ambitious plans to deliver more sports coverage across the region and further enhance our position as the undisputed first choice sports and entertainment broadcaster.”
Tom Harrison, CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said:
“We’re very pleased to welcome beIN MEDIA GROUP to our broader family of broadcast partners and excited by their plans to create their own dedicated cricket channel for the first time. Our international and domestic teams are attracting an ever-expanding global audience and this new partnership will give even more cricket fans worldwide an opportunity to follow all the action and excitement from our game.
“With the 2019 home men’s and women’s Ashes series and India’s next tour to England among the highlights viewers can look forward to in the next two years – this is a comprehensive and compelling package of rights which will help give cricket excellent exposure in the MENA region.”