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Asia’s richest man secures Indian cricket digital rights for $2.6B

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Attracting some of world cricket’s top stars with bumper salaries, the pioneering Indian Premier League attracts hundreds of millions of viewers and spawning copycat events worldwide.

Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani has seen off competition from global media giants to bag the rights to stream the IPL for $2.6 billion.

Star India meanwhile, owned by US behemoth Disney, retained the television rights for the next five seasons of the Indian Premier League, one of the world’s most-watched sporting events, local media reports said.

Together the two deals are reportedly worth about $5.65 billion, dwarfing the $2.55 billion that Star paid in 2017 for digital and TV rights for the previous five seasons of the annual two-month T20 contest.

Two other packages, for the international broadcast of the league and non-exclusive rights for certain matches, were still being auctioned off on Tuesday by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

READ MORE: India’s Adani overtakes Ambani to claim top spot in Asia rich list

Millions of viewers

Attracting some of world cricket’s top stars with bumper salaries, the pioneering IPL helped make Twenty20 – a shorter format of the sport – hugely popular, attracting hundreds of millions of viewers and spawning copycat events worldwide.

For his bid Ambani, Asia’s richest man, created the Viacom18 joint venture with US giant Paramount Global and an investment group backed by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s son James, reports said.

Sony, which televised the IPL for the first 10 years after its inception in 2008, had been in the race to get a share of the competition, which recently completed its 15th edition.

Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on rights for European soccer and American football, had earlier reportedly shown interest in the IPL but pulled out.

READ MORE: Star India wins BCCI media rights for $945 million

Source: TRT World

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Djokovic chases Sampras feat, cruises to Wimbledon last 16

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Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic has demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic has comfortably reached the last 16 at Wimbledon while Maria Sakkari has become the sixth top-10 women’s seed to crash out in the first week.

Three-time defending champion Djokovic demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday, staying on course to pull level with Pete Sampras as a seven-time champion, one behind Roger Federer’s men’s record.

“So far, so good,” said the 35-year-old top seed after beating a player who described him as his “idol”. It was the 330th win of Djokovic’s Grand Slam career.

Waiting in the fourth round is Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven. Playing in his debut Grand Slam main draw, the world number 104 defeated 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

“Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play Djokovic,” said Van Rijthoven, only the seventh man since 2000 to reach the round of 16 on his Grand Slam debut.

Women’s seeds tumble

Greek fifth seed Sakkari lost 6-3, 7-5 to German world number 103 Tatjana Maria, who only returned to the tour last year after maternity leave.

Maria, in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time, will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It feels amazing, first time in the last 16, so that’s amazing. To win against Sakkari today, it’s pretty awesome,” said mother-of-two Maria.

Ostapenko, a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 2018, took her winners count to 102 over three rounds by defeating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Meanwhile, John Isner set a new record for serving aces in his third-round clash against Jannik Sinner.

The 37-year-old American started his match against the 10th seed four aces behind Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who has served 13,728. Isner broke the record in the third game with his fifth ace.

Isner, who stands six feet 10 inches (208 centimetres) tall, is also in the record books for taking part in the longest match in history in 2010, against Nicolas Mahut.

A plaque was unveiled outside Court 18 at Wimbledon to commemorate that contest, which lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

“Give him another plaque,” US tennis great John McEnroe said on ESPN.

Source: TRTWorld 

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Gareth Bale confirms move to MLS leaders Los Angeles FC

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The 32-year-old Bale will join LAFC as a free agent with his contract due to end this summer as the signing is expected to be announced “within a few days.”

Wales forward Gareth Bale has confirmed his move to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Los Angeles FC (LAFC) following his departure from LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The 32-year-old, who signed for Spanish giants Real from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then-record transfer fee of $105.54 million (100 million euros), made the announcement on Sunday.

He is set to join as a free agent with his contract due to end this summer.

Bale confirmed the move with a tweet Saturday, writing, “See you soon, Los Angeles,” alongside a video of himself in an LAFC jersey and hat.

Bale enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Real, winning three LaLiga titles, five Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and the Spanish Cup, although his time at the club was marred by injuries.

The Welshman will likely be best remembered for scoring twice, including a stunning overhead kick, in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool.

He also netted a superb winner against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.

Debut against local rivals

Bale was often targeted by the Spanish media, who labelled him a “parasite” after he missed Real’s 4-0 home loss to Barcelona in March immediately before appearing for Wales, and he was jeered by some fans during a league game in April.

He led Wales to a first World Cup finals since 1958 as they beat Ukraine 1-0 in their playoff in Cardiff earlier this month.

The Welshman will join Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini who signed for LAFC this month after his departure from Juventus.

The secondary transfer window in the US opens on July 7, with a report on the official MLS website saying Bale and Chiellini could make their debuts against local rivals LA Galaxy the following day.

Source: TRT

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FIFA increases squad limit to 26 players for 2022 Qatar World Cup

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The governing body said the decision to expand squads was made “given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing” of this year’s competition, which will interrupt the European club season.

FIFA will allow countries to select up to 26 players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, increasing the maximum squad size by three for the November 21-December 18 tournament.

“The number of players to be included on the final list has been increased to at least 23 and a maximum of 26,” FIFA said in a statement on Thursday.

World football’s governing body said the decision to expand squads was made “given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing” of this year’s competition, which will interrupt the European club season.

FIFA also took into account the “broader context of the disruptive effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on squads before and during tournaments”.

READ MORE: FIFA announces 16 host cities for 2026 football World Cup

New rule

UEFA adopted similar changes for Euro 2020 last year, meeting a demand from coaches who feared they could lose players due to coronavirus.

National teams had named squads of 23 players at the World Cup and European Championship ever since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Prior to that only 22 players were allowed in each squad at international tournaments.

Last week football’s rules body IFAB approved the permanent use of five substitutes for all top-level matches and said teams can now name 15 substitutes on a team sheet instead of 12.

“No more than 26 people (up to 15 substitutes and 11 team officials – one of these officials must be the team doctor) will be allowed to sit on the team bench” during World Cup games, FIFA said.

READ MORE: In a first, women referees to officiate men’s football World Cup this year

Source: TRT

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