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Facebook bags digital content rights for key cricket events in India from International Cricket Council

Facebook has become the exclusive digital content rights partner for the International Cricket Council’s global events in the Indian sub-continent up till 2023. This entitles the social network and its platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp to an array of content around cricket including match recaps and key in-play moments.

These rights are not to be confused with the digital and broadcast rights for cricket up until 2023, sold by the ICC in 2018 to the Star network which bought them for $940 million. Facebook and Amazon were reportedly among the bidders for the rights to the IPL cricket tournament in 2017, which was also won by the Star Network.

The digital content rights come to Facebook in a year that saw the appointment of Star network veteran Ajit Mohan as vice president and managing director for India. Mohan was previously with the Star Network for over six years, the last four as CEO of Hotstar its OTT platform.

The ICC claimed that digital clips from the recently concluded cricket world cup generated 4.6 billion views, with its own digital and social media channels accounting for 3.6 billion views.

As part of its digital content rights bid, ICC offered over 20,000 clips or 500 hours of content over four years.

A note from ICC said: “Facebook will carry a range of digital content across four years including match recaps, in-play key moments and other match and feature content, giving the hundreds of millions of cricket fans in the region the opportunity to deepen their engagement with the sport with more content available than ever before.”

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “We are delighted to welcome Facebook to the global cricket family for this multi-year, multi-market partnership which is a first for our sport. The combination of one of the world’s most watched sports with one of the world’s largest platforms is exciting for the future of our game.

“The record-breaking growth in digital consumption at this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup demonstrated the continued power of cricket to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world.

“Throughout the competitive bid process, we received tremendous interest from a range of platforms, all of whom recognise the phenomenal reach of cricket. In Facebook, we have a genuine partner who shares in our ambition to continue to grow and deepen engagement with cricket fans globally using its platforms.”

Mohan added: “We are excited to partner with the ICC to bring the most exciting moments in cricket to Facebook Watch and to chart the next stage of technology led transformation in cricket.

“With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans. Every day, people come to our platforms to talk about, and form friendships around, cricket.

“With this partnership, we will be able to serve these fans with the kind of premium content that can ignite new conversations, new connections and new followership.

“The future of AR and VR is being charted by Facebook and we are excited about the possibility of bringing the best of our innovations to fans around the world.”

The package includes events such as the women’s and the men’s T20 world cup, the world test championship final and the cricket world cup of 2023.

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