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ITV acquires live IPL TV rights- 4 Mar 2010 00:00:00

ITV has picked up the TV rights to this year’s Indian Premier League with the deal seeing the broadcaster screening 59 live matches from the lucrative cricket tournament on its digital channel ITV4.

The IPL is now in its third year and will return to India, following the last-minute switch of last year’s competition to South Africa due to security issues, taking place over a 45-day period beginning on Friday, 12th March.

ITV4’s live coverage, produced by ITV Sport, will be presented by Matt Smith alongside Bollywood actress and presenter Mandira Bedi, who hosted Cricket World Cup coverage in India.

They will be joined by renowned analyst Simon Hughes, with more guest experts to be announced in the coming weeks.

The IPL captured a worldwide audience of 450m in only its second year, broadcasting across all continents including Australia, the US and across the Middle East.

The IPL will have a bespoke section of the ITV.com website while the tournament will be supported by a prominent marketing campaign on ITV.

Pay-TV broadcaster Setanta Sports held the live TV rights to the IPL in 2009 prior to the broadcaster folding in the middle of last year.

Playing the Twenty20 cricket format, eight teams will compete in the 2010 tournament including the participation of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Jacques Kallis and Chris Gayle. English players participating in this season’s tournament include Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah.

Despite rumours of player withdrawal due to ongoing security issues in the region, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has reassured all participants of the security plan and stated his continued belief that all the players will turn up to the tournament.

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