Facebook signs partnership to broadcast India’s cricket matches

Facebook have signed a deal to broadcast the Australian summer of cricket vs India 2020/2021.

The rapid rise of esports

A lot of sports content has gone online this year, due to the obvious challenges caused by the pandemic. Many sports tournaments and leagues were postponed or even cancelled earlier this year. This lead to there being a lack of live sports for fans to enjoy.

During that time, it was esports which came to the rescue. Quite a few sports fans turned to watching esports as a substitute during this time, and the popularity of this led to leagues setting up their own esports tournaments as well. For example, the virtual Formula One series was a huge success, with actual Formula One drivers competing from their homes against each other, as well as sportsmen from other sports.

There was similar excitement around the various FIFA tournaments that took place, as football players played virtually against each other. Esports was seen in cricket as well. A number of cricket games have become increasingly popular, especially on mobile. The World Cricket Championship game, for example, has seen millions of downloads. Now, it has two ex-cricketers in Aakash Chopra and Matthew Hayden providing commentary on the game as well.

Also, Read – Picking Australia’s All-Time Test XI

WCC is just one example of how esports is gaining followers in the world of cricket at this time, while the sport itself remains hugely popular, as seen by the number of people who watched the Indian Premier League, held in the UAE this year.

Facebook signs deal to broadcast Indian Cricket

Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are the two best test batsmen in the world in 2020 test match cricket
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Australian captain Steve Smith shakes hands with Virat Kohli of India after winning the series during day five of the Fourth Test match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 10, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

At the same time, online content providers and social media companies are also looking towards cricket as a valuable tool to drive audiences. In this regard, it is interesting that Facebook has signed a content partnership agreement with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI). This, to broadcast exclusive and video-on-demand content from India’s tour of Australia which is currently underway. This agreement will cover the entirety of the tour. It will include the three ODIs, three T20Is and four Test matches.

Also, Read – Picking India’s All-Time Test XI

This also marks increasing engagement for Indian cricket with online forms of content. Recently, the esports platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) signed a three year agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to be the merchandise sponsor for the Indian cricket team. Thus, the team’s kits will be manufactured by the MPL, which has set up an apparel company to provide this, as well as manufacture replica kits which will go on sale at discounted rates for fans to buy. This marks the first time that the Indian team’s kits will not be manufactured by Nike in nearly two decades and so it is an interesting move from the BCCI as well.

What content will be available?

Facebook logo is seen displayed on a phone screen in this illustration photo taken in Poland on November 29, 2020. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Facebook’s deal with Sony will see a huge variety of content being provided on the social media platform. This will vary from highlights to in-play coverage, as well as post-match presentations with the man of the match awards and so on. All of this will be available on Sony India’s Facebook page. Thus, allowing fans to share those moments with each other, or catch up on them if they missed out on the live action. This is also a step forward for Facebook Watch, Facebook’s video-on-demand service which is aiming to broadcast live sports, including cricket, as its big offering for fans.

This is just one example of social media platforms going for cricket content – recently Amazon Prime Video picked up the telecast rights in India for cricket from New Zealand. Facebook had tried to get the rights for the IPL this year, but was pipped by Star, while the social media giant does have the broadcast rights for the Spanish football league, La Liga, in India. These moves just show how valuable sports can be for these social media companies. We can expect to see this trend increasing more and more as time goes on.

With Facebook now in-line to broadcast the Australian summer of cricket, it is clear to see that the world of e-commerce is ever evolving.

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