ESPN STAR Sports has signed a multi-year broadcast rights agreement for India and several other markets in the region for exclusive coverage of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL). The first edition of this T20 league begins on 11 August.
The multi-year deal includes a minimum of 24 T20 matches per season. The first edition of the SLPL will see seven provisional teams compete for the coveted trophy as well as a qualifier berth to the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) to be held later this year.
Commenting on the development, Peter Hutton, managing director, ESPN STAR Sports, said, “We are delighted to be able to telecast the live matches of the SLPL in India and throughout the region. It is an excellent addition to STAR Cricket's remarkable catalogue of content in the next year, headlined by India's home series against Pakistan, England and New Zealand, the ICC World T20, the Champions League T20 and the ICC Champions trophy.
“Sri Lanka cricket becomes the 6th cricket body with whom we are working on the shortest form of the game. Our coverage of Australia's Big Bash and the T20 leagues in England and Bangladesh have already shown our commitment to the format, and we look to further growing our live cricket content," he added.
International players in SLPL
Other than the Sri Lankans who are expected to play, cricketers signed up to participate in SLPL include West Indians Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach, Kevon Cooper and Jerome Taylor. South Africans Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Robin Peterson, Ryan McLaren and Richard Levi will also be part of SLPL.
The lone Zimbabwean to be part of the league this year is Brendan Taylor. From Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Raheem, Elias Sunny and Nasir Hossain will play in the inaugural.
Pakistani players will form the second largest nationality at SLPL, with Shahid Afridi, Misbah Ul Haq, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Malik, Azhar Mahmood, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir, Umar Gul, Ahmed Shahzad, Hammad Azam, Abdur Rehman, Imran Farhat and Umar Akmal being part of the new league's first tournament.
From down under, Australians Dirk Nannes, Ryan Harris, Brad Hodge, Mitchell Marsh, Andrew McDonald, Brad Hogg, Callum Ferguson, and Clint Mckay are playing the SLPL inaugural, and so are Kiwis James Franklin, Nathan McCullum and Tim Southee.