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BeIN to launch cricket channel after ECB rights deal

The England and Wales Cricket Board has signed a six-year rights deal with beIN Media Group covering the Middle East and North Africa, with the Qatar-based broadcaster set to form a new channel to accommodate its growing cricket content.

The new deal will give beIN rights to screen coverage from all of England’s home international men’s and women’s series, as well as its domestic competitions, from the summer of 2018 through to the end of the 2024 season.

It will encompass next summer’s tours by India and Pakistan as well as the next home Ashes series against Australia in 2019, plus action from the domestic T20 Blast, One-Day Cup, the County Championship and the ECB’s new eight-team T20 competition, which launches in 2020.

The agreement covers more than 24 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco. Earlier this month, beIN made its first move into the cricket rights sector after signing a long-term partnership with Cricket Australia.

As part of the ECB agreement, beIN 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.

Yousef Al-Obaidly, deputy chief executive of beIN Media Group, said: “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.”