Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the parent company of Mumbai Indians, on Wednesday announced to acquire a team in Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) UAE T20 League.
Named as Premier League T20 (PLT20), the six-team league will kick off early next year and will also witness a couple of more IPL franchises – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Delhi Capitals (dc).
Meanwhile, the Glazer family, owners of the Manchester United, and Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Sidney Sixers are also expected to own teams in the league.
“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 organisers said in a statement.
On the other hand, 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,” she added.
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Zarooni, Chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman ECB, felt 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,” said 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.
Significantly, the UAE T20 League, which is sanctioned by Emirates Cricket Board will be held annually.
For the initial few years, the league will feature six 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.