Reliance Industries Limited, through its subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL) will be acquiring the rights to own and operate a new franchise cricket team in the Emirates Cricket Board’s upcoming UAE T20 League.
According to a statement issued by the ECB and RIL, the "move is first major overseas expansion of Reliance Industries’ cricket operations in the global franchise-based cricket leagues."
"The cricket business will now include two cricket clubs in addition to their other cricket related initiatives including sponsorship, consultancy, broadcast and talent management," the statement read.
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RIL through Mumbai Indians is amongst the eight founding members of the IPL and over the years has evolved as the most successful cricket club both on-and-off the field.
Nita Ambani, co-owner of Mumbai Indians said, “With great pride and joy, we take our Mumbai Indians brand of fearless cricket to a new geography. We are thankful to our fans, both in India and overseas, for supporting MI wholeheartedly. I look forward to strengthening and further expanding our global fanbase, and having a longer engagement with them through this new League. While Mumbai Indians will continue to remain at the heart of our cricket operations, the popularity of global T20 leagues and attractiveness of the UAE market offer a unique opportunity for us to further unlock the value of our sports management expertise. It also allows us a platform to develop young international talent and share best practices both on and off the field.”
Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, said: “We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem. We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in UAE and bring in our experiences to benefit the growth of cricket in UAE.”
Chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman, ECB, Khalid Al Zarooni feels that RILs investment in UAE T20 League demonstrates the confidence of the corporate industry in UAE’s vision and ability to deliver a world class cricketing event.
“We aim to transform cricket in UAE through UAE T20 League. Our wider plan includes expansion of cricket through various development programs being conducted in UAE by the League franchisees including talent hunts, coaching, and training by some of the best in the business,” Zarooni said.