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DSport seals first cricket rights deal

Indian pay-television broadcaster DSport has entered the cricket rights market by agreeing a deal to televise next month’s Twenty20 series between Pakistan and an International Cricket Council World XI.

The three-game series will take place at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium on September 12, 13 and 15. Staged in partnership between the Pakistan Cricket Board and ICC, the series is designed to return top-level international cricket to Pakistan following years in which the national team has effectively played in exile, owing to security fears in its home country.

Karan Bajaj, senior vice-president and general manager for South Asia at DSport’s parent company Discovery Communications India, said: “This is the first cricket property acquired by DSport and is indicative of our appetite to offer world class action across categories for the sports fans in India.”

The deal comes with the next set of media rights to the Indian Premier League currently on the market. Discovery is one of a total of 24 companies now said to be in contention for the contracts on offer.

The deadline for bids has been rescheduled for September 4. The rights tender is set to cover five editions of the IPL, from 2018 to 2022, and includes both broadcast and digital rights.

In other news, DSport has bolstered its wrestling coverage by acquiring rights to Mexican series Lucha Underground. DSport will broadcast three seasons of Lucha Underground, comprising 98 episodes in total, in a Friday evening slot starting tomorrow.