Six heavyweights from franchise tournaments around the world, including IPL’s Mumbai Indians and Shah Rukh Khan’s Knight Riders franchise, are set to join hands in the upcoming Emirates T20 League in January next year, The Times of India reported on Friday.
The six-team league is the brainchild of former IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman. It is now being run by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with the backing of the head of the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Social Development, Sheikh Al Nahyan.
The Glazer family, owners of the Manchester United football club, who recently fell short in their bid for one of the two new IPL franchises, will also invest in the new league. This is being seen as a testimony of their continued interest in a sport that is slowly but surely taking roots in their backyard – the USA.
Financial services company Capri Global also showed interest in the bids for the IPL franchise. They, too, will finance a team in the Emirates T20 League. Delhi Capitals co-owner Kiran Kumar Gandhi will also invest in the league, albeit without Parth Jindal, the other 50% co-owner of the IPL franchise.
The Sydney Sixers, one of the most successful Australian Big Bash League franchises, will make the final team of the Emirates T20 League, adding to their long-going attempts to invest in leagues outside their home country.
Work on the league began in 2019. The Chennai Super Kings franchise had also shown initial interest but opted out later.
Industry executives confident of Emirates T20 League’s success
Industry executives tracking developments, encouraged by the the success of IPL 2021 and the T20 World Cup in the UAE, sounded a confident note on the prospects of the league. They told TOI:
“January’s a great time to play cricket in the UAE. The destination caters to multiple time zones, especially in the west. It suits prime-time in the Indian sub-continent very well, as we’ve seen during the last two IPLs and the recent T20 World Cup that were played there.”
The Emirates T20 League’s reported business model will see franchisees invest annually and work on returns through broadcast and sponsorships.
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Similar to the prior tournaments in the Middle East, this new competition is also expected to attract the attention of fans and players from around the world.