In a breakthrough for SA’s new premier T20 league in its battled to attract Indian broadcasters, organisers on Wednesday announced a 10-year partnership with sports network Viacom18.
India’s newest sports network will exclusively present all the SA20 matches to that country’s huge cricket fan base.
The first edition of the SA20, which will have six teams, is set to start on January 10.
According to media reports, Cricket SA and their partners in the tournament had closed the bidding process without any Indian broadcasters putting forward a bid. This was despite all six of the franchises in the SA20 being owned by people or companies that have teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Failure to secure a broadcaster to show the matches in India would have been a big setback for Cricket SA, which saw its past two attempts to stage a world-class T20 league end in disaster.
However, news of the deal with Viacom18 has raised hope that the SA20 can be a financial success.
SA20 league commissioner Graeme Smith described the agreement as groundbreaking and said SA stands to benefit a great deal from it.
“Today is a ground-breaking day for SA cricket,” Smith said. “This long-term partnership between the SA20 and Viacom18 as our official Indian broadcaster is a catalyst that supports our ambitions to build the world’s second-biggest league.
“With six IPL owners expanding their brands in SA, Viacom18 is the perfect partner to take the SA20 into the homes of the passionate and cricket-loving Indian market.” Business Live