RIL subsidiary set to acquire franchise in ECB's UAE T20 League

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The Emirates Cricket Board will organise the UAE T20 League. (AFP)
The Emirates Cricket Board will organise the UAE T20 League. (AFP)

The move is the first major overseas expansion of Reliance Industries' cricket operations in the global franchise-based cricket leagues

By Team KT

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Published: Wed 24 Nov 2021, 2:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 Nov 2021, 2:52 PM

The Reliance Industries Limited, through its subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL), will be acquiring the rights to own and operate a new franchise cricket team in the Emirates Cricket Board’s upcoming UAE T20 League.

The move is first major overseas expansion of Reliance Industries’ cricket operations in the global franchise-based cricket leagues.

The cricket business will now include two cricket clubs in addition to their other cricket related initiatives including sponsorship, consultancy, broadcast, and talent management.

RIL’s Mumbai Indians are amongst the eight founding members of the IPL and over the years has evolved as the most successful cricket clubs both on and off the field.

The deal will see UAE’s T20 League benefit from the company’s commercial and cricket know-how, promising a new and exciting brand of cricket for the Emiratis along with the best learnings, experiences, and entertainment.

The UAE T20 League, sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board, will be held annually. For the initial few years, the League will feature six franchise teams competing in a 34-match event.

The League will involve some of the biggest names in world cricket and provide a platform and exposure to upcoming young cricketers.

Khalid Al Zarooni, chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman ECB, feels that RIL’s investment in UAE T20 League demonstrates the confidence of the corporate industry in UAE’s vision and ability to deliver a world class cricketing event.

“We aim to transform cricket in UAE through UAE T20 League. Our wider plan includes expansion of cricket through various development programmes being conducted in UAE by the league franchisees including talent hunts, coaching and training by some of the best in the business,” Zarooni said.

“RIL has the legacy with proven track record in establishing the most successful team in franchise cricket. Association of vanguard like RIL with the League demonstrates the confidence in our system and the strength of our infrastructure to deliver world class events. We are pleased to welcome RIL onboard and look forward to having an exciting and continuing alliance,” he added.

Nita Ambani, co-owner and architect of Mumbai Indians, said UAE offers a unique opportunity for the RIL.

“With great pride and joy, we take our Mumbai Indians brand of fearless cricket to a new geography. We are thankful to our fans, both in India and overseas, for supporting MI wholeheartedly. I look forward to strengthening and further expanding our global fan base, and having a longer engagement with them through this new League,” she said.

“While Mumbai Indians will continue to remain at the heart of our cricket operations, the popularity of global T20 leagues and attractiveness of the UAE market offer a unique opportunity for us to further unlock the value of our sports management expertise. It also allows us a platform to develop young international talent and share best practices both on and off the field.”

Meanwhile, Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, believes that the UAE T20 League presents a unique opportunity to build on existing global partnerships and benefit the growth of cricket in UAE.

“We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem,” he said.

We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in UAE and bring in our experiences to benefits the growth of cricket in UAE.”

Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary, ECB, says the global trust in UAE cricket is extremely encouraging.

“The trust being shown by prominent business houses in the UAE T20 League is extremely encouraging. We are pleased with RIL’s association with the League as a franchise team owner. Having seen the professionalism in the operations of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, their success in putting together the most successful team in franchise cricket and the passion with which they pursue their goals, we are very confident that this association will be mutually beneficial for both RIL and the League and will support cricket development in UAE,” Usmani said.

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