Facebook is no longer just a social media platform. It will soon be turning into a hub for Cricket fans in India. With the recent improvements that Facebook brought under its hood, this news hadn’t been revealed back then. This popular social media giant announced on Thursday that it has partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the global governing body for the sport of cricket, to secure exclusive digital content rights until 2023 for global ICC events in the Indian subcontinent. It’s somewhat a great news for Cricket fans who remain hooked on to their mobile for a long time.

Today’s deal includes coverage of following events across the 2019-2023 cycle:

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021, ICC World Test Championship Final 2021, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2022, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, ICC World Test Championship Final 2023, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2022, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, and ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022.

So its a four-year deal, of course Facebook didn’t reveal the financial details. Facebook will be casting match highlights, post-match recaps and in-play key moments and other “feature content” of the matches in India. Although the exclusive rights are limited to the Indian subcontinent, elsewhere the company will carry post-match recaps.

Facebook claims to serve “hundreds of millions of cricket fans” through this “unprecedented” and “ground-breaking” deal. India worships Cricket, Indians celebrate it as a religion beyond all others. Apparently this game isn’t that popular in USA but in the Indian sub-continent, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, this game has a lot of dedicated fans.

Facebook’s biggest competitor in sports streaming within the Indian subcontinent is Hotstar, a streaming service in India owned by Disney, which has set global record for most concurrent views on a live streaming event thanks to cricket. In 2017, Facebook had reportedly bid $600 million for online streaming rights for IPL, however the giant lost to another broadcasting company “Star India” a subsidiary of Disney which controls Hotstar. In 2018, Facebook did its homework and acquired the rights to stream La Liga games in India. That very year Star India had acquired digital and TV rights to live-stream and broadcast all of Indian cricket team’s matches globally for staggering sum of $944 million.

Recently Facebook had acquired CTRL-labs thereby spewing hints on its new commitment to AR and VR technology. “The future of AR and VR is being charted by Facebook and we are excited about the possibility of bringing the best of our innovations to fans around the world,” said Ajit Mohan ( VP and Managing Director Facebook India ) who was the CEO of Hotstar prior to joining Facebook.

“With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans. Every day, people come to our platforms to talk about, and form friendships around, cricket. With this partnership, we will be able to serve these fans with the kind of premium content that can ignite new conversations, new connections and new followership”, Mohan added.

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