Reliance Industries Limited, through its subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL) will be acquiring the rights to own and operate a new franchise cricket team in the Emirates Cricket Board’s upcoming UAE T20 League. The move is the first major overseas expansion of Reliance Industries’ cricket operations in the global franchise-based cricket leagues.
The cricket business will now include two cricket clubs in addition to their other cricket related initiatives including sponsorship, consultancy, broadcast, and talent management.
RIL, through Mumbai Indians, is amongst the eight founding members of the IPL and over the years has evolved as the most successful cricket club both on-and-off the field. The deal will see UAE’s T20 League benefit from the company’s commercial and cricket know-how, promising a new and exciting brand of cricket for the Emiratis along with the best learnings, experiences, and entertainment.
Chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman ECB Mr. Khalid Al Zarooni feels that RILs investment in UAE T20 League demonstrates the confidence of the corporate industry in UAE’s vision and ability to deliver a world class cricketing event.
“We aim to transform cricket in the UAE through the UAE T20 League. Our wider plan includes expansion of cricket through various development programs being conducted in UAE by the League franchisees including talent hunts, coaching, and training by some of the best in the business,” says Mr Zarooni.
“RIL has the legacy with a proven track record in establishing the most successful team in franchise cricket. Association of vanguard like RIL with the League demonstrates the confidence in our system and the strength of our infrastructure to deliver world class events. We are pleased to welcome RIL onboard and look forward to having an exciting and continuing alliance,” he added.
Commenting on the occasion, Mrs. Nita Ambani, co-owner & architect of Mumbai Indians said, “With great pride and joy, we take our Mumbai Indians brand of fearless cricket to a new geography. We are thankful to our fans, both in India and overseas, for supporting MI wholeheartedly. I look forward to strengthening and further expanding our global fanbase, and having a longer engagement with them through this new League. While Mumbai Indians will continue to remain at the heart of our cricket operations, the popularity of global T20 leagues and attractiveness of the UAE market offer a unique opportunity for us to further unlock the value of our sports management expertise. It also allows us a platform to develop young international talent and share best practices both on and off the field.”
Mr. Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians believes that the UAE T20 League presents a unique opportunity to build on existing global partnerships and benefit the growth of cricket in the UAE.
Says Mr. Akash Ambani: “We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem. We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in UAE and bring in our experiences to benefit the growth of cricket in UAE.”
Mr. Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary ECB said: “The trust being shown by prominent business houses in the UAE T20 League is extremely encouraging. We are pleased with RIL’s association with the League as a franchise team owner. Having seen the professionalism in the operations of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, their success in putting together the most successful team in franchise cricket and the passion with which they pursue their goals, we are very confident that this association will be mutually beneficial for both RIL and the League and will support cricket development in UAE.”
UAE T20 League sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board will be held annually. For the initial few years, the League will feature 6 franchise teams competing in a 34-match event. The League will involve some of the biggest names in world cricket and provide a platform and exposure to upcoming young cricketers.
Having RIL on board to the UAE T20 League is the first in a series of other important announcements about the League to be made in the upcoming days.