ITV has pipped its rivals by securing the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket rights for the next four years.
Under the new agreement, live coverage of IPL matches will be broadcast free-to-air on ITV4 and simulcast live on the ITV website. The fourth season of the Indian Premier League begins on 8th April running over 74 matches to 28th May.
ITV4 coverage will be produced by ITV Sport with the presenting team due to be announced shortly.
Announcing the new deal, Niall Sloane, ITV’s Controller of Sport said: “ITV4 has a fast growing reputation for broadcasting sport and, after a terrific audience response to our coverage of last year’s competition and more recently the winter Ashes series, I’m delighted that we have secured a new four-year deal for free-to-air coverage of the Indian Premier League.”
Yannick Colaco, COO, Nimbus said: “We are delighted to partner with one of UK�۪s biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV, to telecast the IPL in UK. We look forward to a fruitful partnership and an exciting IPL season 4.”
Cricket made its debut on ITV4 in 2010 with live coverage of the third season of IPL and was followed later in the year by highlights of England�۪s 2010-11 Ashes, Twenty20 and One Day International series in Australia. ITV4 is available to over 93 percent of homes on platforms including Freesat, Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media. The channel’s sports line-up includes live UEFA Europa League, Tour de France and British Touring Cars and highlights of Rugby�۪s Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup and LV Cup.
Playing Twenty20 cricket, ten teams compete in the IPL with the 2011 season played across 12 venues in India. The competition attracts some of the world�۪s greatest players and in 2011 will include: Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Daniel Vettori, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and many more with English players including Paul Collingwood, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan and Owais Shah.
The IPL has become one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world, reaching out to 145 million audiences last year in India itself and capturing massive global audience across all continents including Australia, USA and across the Middle East.