Facebook wins ICC digital rights package in Indian subcontinent

The International Cricket Council has announced an exclusive four-year digital rights agreement in the Indian subcontinent with social media giant Facebook.

Announcing the ‘ground-breaking’ tie-up today, the ICC said that Facebook would carry a range of digital content, including match recaps, in-play key moments and other match and feature content.

The agreement runs until 2023 and includes the ICC’s suits of major events, such as the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup, the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup, the men’s and women’s T20 World Cups, the ICC World Test Championship Final and various men’s qualifying and age-grade events.

Manu Sawhney, the ICC chief executive, said: “Throughout the competitive bid process, we received tremendous interest from a range of platforms, all of whom recognise the phenomenal reach of cricket. In Facebook, we have a genuine partner who shares in our ambition to continue to grow and deepen engagement with cricket fans globally using its platforms.”

Ajit Mohan, Facebook India’s vice-president and managing director, said: “We are excited to partner with the ICC to bring the most exciting moments in cricket to Facebook Watch and to chart the next stage of technology led transformation in cricket.

“With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans.”

He added: “The future of AR and VR is being charted by Facebook and we are excited about the possibility of bringing the best of our innovations to fans around the world.”

The ICC last month issued the invitation to tender for digital rights, setting a first-round bid deadline of August 29.

The rights were split into nine region-specific packages, covering the Americas (US, Canada, Caribbean and South America); Australia; Asia, excluding the Indian subcontinent; the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal) and Afghanistan; mainland Europe (excluding the UK Ireland); the Middle East and North Africa; New Zealand; Sub-Saharan Africa; and the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In 2017, Facebook failed with an audacious five-year offer for rights to the Indian Premier League but ultimately lost out to Star TV in the bidding process.