10 Feb

The IMG agency has emerged victorious in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recent tender process for the production and distribution of live streams, along with commercial rights, to more than 500 ICC Pathway matches, SportBusiness understands. 

Following the ICC’s issuing of a Request for Proposals (RFP) towards the end of November, IMG is understood to have submitted a winning bid, although the long-form contract is still in the process of being signed off. 

In going to market, the ICC was looking to ensure coverage was in place for the matches, which will run until the first quarter of 2023, whilst also inviting bids for the commercial rights. 

The availability of broadcast coverage for the vast output of ‘Pathway’ matches will serve as a boost to the ICC’s ‘Associate’ member federations within global cricket’s second tier. 

Events that fall under the ICC Pathway umbrella include regional qualifying matches for both the men’s and women’s T20 World Cups, the Cricket World Cup League 2 and Challenge Leagues (which serve as qualifying events for the Cricket World Cup) and qualifying matches for the Women’s Cricket World Cup. 

The deadline for companies to submit RFPs to the IBC, the ICC’s commercial subsidiary, was December 14. 

IMG will now be tasked with the production of live streams with English-language commentary, the creation of a basic statistical graphics package and data feed, plus the distribution of the live streams globally. It is likely that IMG will appoint an external production company (or companies) for the host broadcast role. 

The agency can also exploit the commercial rights, namely the global broadcast rights (via digital delivery), sponsorship rights, fantasy game rights, betting streaming rights and data rights. In going to market, the ICC was particularly looking to maximise the increasing value of the fantasy sports market. 

Upon full sign-off, the rights inventory will provide IMG Arena, the agency’s sports betting arm, with additional content to market to its bookmaker clients. 

IMG’s success in the ICC’s RFP comes with doubts persisting over the future of its long-running event management rights contract with Twenty20 cricket’s Indian Premier League. Following reports in India that the agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India had been terminated, IMG said that it remained “in discussions” with the cricket body. 

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries recently acquired IMG’s 50-per-cent stake in their joint venture IMG-Reliance, which was formed in 2010 to develop, market and manage sports, entertainment and fashion projects in India.   

John Stephenson 


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