ITV is to screen live cricket for the first time in more than 30 years after securing the rights to show the 2010 Indian Premier League.
The deal will see freeview channel ITV4 broadcast live coverage of all 59 Twenty20 matches over a 45-day period, starting with a spectacular opening ceremony in Mumbai next Friday.
Since making its bow in 2008, the IPL has become one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world, capturing worldwide audiences of 450 million across the world.
After switching to South Africa last year over security fears, the IPL is back on home soil this time round with bigger audiences than ever expected to tune in to see if champions Deccan Charges can be dethroned.
Eight teams will be competing for this, the third IPL title, with many of the world’s greatest players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Jacques Kallis and Chris Gayle all on show, as well as an English contingent which includes Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah.
Announcing the deal, ITV’s Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions, Zai Bennett said: “In only two years, the Indian Premier League has already established itself as one of the world’s most high profile and exciting sports events which attracts some of the very best cricketers from around the globe.”
Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the IPL added: “This is a hugely significant deal for the IPL. It is a truly global competition unlike any other, ideally suited to the British passion for cricket and entertainment.”
IPL 2010 | KEY DATES
Group stages (56 matches):
Fri Mar 12 - Mon Apr 19
1st v 4th - Wed Apr 21
2nd v 3rd - Thur Apr 22
Final: Sun Apr 25