Major League Cricket (MLC) announced a media rights partnership that will see the first-ever edition of the competition air exclusively in India on Viacom18’s sports network.
The multi-platform coverage will include live streaming on JioCinema and broadcast television coverage on Sports18, starting on Thursday, July 13, when the Texas Super Kings take on the Los Angeles Knight Riders at Grand Prairie Stadium near Dallas, TX.
MLC will feature international talent playing alongside America’s players for the Los Angeles Knight Riders, MI New York, San Francisco Unicorns, Seattle Orcas, Texas Super Kings and Washington Freedom.
The inaugural season will be played in a round-robin format with the four best performing teams competing in a multi-game playoff and final round to decide a champion, to be crowned on July 30.
“JioCinema continues to change the landscape of sports consumption, and with Major League Cricket, fans will watch their favourite T20 cricketers and cheer for teams affiliated to their favourite franchisees,” said Viacom18 Sports Head of Strategy, Partnerships and Acquisitions Hursh Shrivastava. “Indian viewers love T20 cricket, and we expect them to enjoy the action from the inaugural edition of the league across JioCinema and Sports18.”
“We are delighted to partner with Viacom18 and ensure that the world class T20 action Major League Cricket will feature is widely available in India, streamed on JioCinema and broadcast on Sports18,” said Vijay Srinivasan, co-Founder, Major League Cricket. “Our six teams feature T20 superstars fans in India love to watch, and there’s no better partner to showcase world class sports broadcasts in the world’s largest cricket market than Viacom18’s channels.”
Four of the six teams in the league feature investors from owners of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises including MI New York (five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians), the LA Knight Riders (two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders), the Texas Super Kings (five-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings) and the Seattle Orcas (Delhi Capitals).
Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Trent Boult, Dewald Brevis and Kagiso Rabada will represent MI New York. LA Knight Riders will see Sunil Narine, Andre Rusell, Jason Roy, Adam Zampa and Martin Guptill suit up alongside former India U19 captain Unmukt Chand. A core of Chennai Super Kings stars will form the Texas Super Kings overseas group, captained by Faf Du Plessis alongside Ambati Rayudu, Devon Conway, Dwayne Bravo and Mitchel Santner.
The Seattle Orcas drafted former India U19 left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh as the first pick in the first-ever Domestic Draft for Major League Cricket. Joining Singh on the Orcas are two top international T20 exponents in Quinton De Kock and Mitchell Marsh. Sri Lankan spin wizard Wanindu Hasaranga, Proteas fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansen and hard-hitting Kiwi batsman Glenn Phillips will be joined by former India U19 bowler Saurabh Netravalkar as part of the Washington Freedom.
Marcus Stoinis will bring in strong international and franchise cricket experience alongside fellow Australian Aaron Finch, who will lead the San Francisco Unicorns. In the draft, the Unicorns picked former New Zealand international Corey Anderson in the first round, followed up by England’s World Cup winner Liam Plunkett in the second. Pakistan duo Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf were recently announced as their final signings with Shane Watson as their head coach.