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Manchester United owner acquires UAE T20 League franchise

New cricket competition also reportedly secures media rights deal with Zee worth up to US$120m.

2 December 2021 Tom Bassam
Avram Glazer has acquired a franchise in the Emirates Cricket Board’s new Twenty20 competition.

Getty Images

  • Three IPL owners buy into new T20 tournament
  • Franchises reportedly selling for as much as US$60m

Lancer Capital, the investment firm owned by Manchester United co-chairman Avram Glazer, has acquired a franchise in the Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) new Twenty20 competition.

Glazer, who alongside the English soccer giants also co-owns the National Football League’s (NFL) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was recently unsuccessful in his bid for one of the expansion teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 competition.

The new UAE T20 League is launching with six franchises playing 34 matches across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. All six franchise owners are now in place, with the Economic Times of India (ETI) reporting that the ECB sold the slots for between US$40 million and US$60 million each, with payments spread over ten years.

Three IPL franchise owners – Reliance Industries, Shah Rukh Khan and GMR Group – have invested in UAE T20 League teams. Capri Global, an Indian finance firm, and Cricket Australia’s Sydney Sixers T20 franchise make up the rest of the team owners.

The confirmation of Lancer Capital’s investment came amid reports of Indian media giant Zee Entertainment signing a ten-year global media rights deal with the ECB for the UAE T20 League.

With Zee nearing the completion of its deal to merge with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), the ETI reports that the contract is worth between US$100 million and US$120 million.

The ETI says that the UAE T20 League will get distribution across three or four of Zee’s linear channels and its ZEE5 streaming service. Once the Sony merger is completed a dedicated sports network will be the franchise cricket competition’s new broadcast home.

Zee managing director Punit Goenka recently told the APOS Media summit that the merged entity would be making a significant push into live sports.

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