After Cricket Australia, beIN SPORTS has now acquired the England Cricket Board media rights. As per the understanding, all domestic and international cricket played in England will be beamed live on beIN Sports in the territory of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Alongside the agreement, beIN has also announced plans to introduce a dedicated beIN sports cricket channel in the MENA region in 2018.
Under the six-year deal, beIN will screen premium cricket clashes including India’s 2018 and 2022 tours to England and the Ashes series in the UK in 2019. beIN recently announced an exclusive deal to broadcast Cricket Australia content in the MENA region, starting with the 2017-18 Ashes. Adding to the international matches, the ECB deal means beIN 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.
Welcoming the partnership, 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.”
beIN has also announced plans to launch the dedicated cricket channel. 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.
The agreement with ECB will cover the home international programme for both ECB 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 select games in Ultra HD over the coming years with the recent launch of beIN Media Group’s 4K channel. beIN will broadcast cricket in more than 24 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
The 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.