Abu Dhabi to become new home of UAE T10 Cricket League

Shahid 'Boom Boom' Afridi has been one of the stars of the T10 League so far. (Getty Images)
Updated 19 March 2019

Abu Dhabi to become new home of UAE T10 Cricket League

  • UAE League to move base from Sharjah to UAE capital.
  • Shajji Ul-Mulk, the league’s chairman, hopes move takes the newest form of the game to the next level.

LONDON: Abu Dhabi is set to become the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years, starting from this October.
The UAE-based league has been based in Sharjah for its first two editions, attracting big crowds and big-name players. England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, West Indies all-time great Chris Gayle and Pakistan icon Shahid Afridi have all taken part in the newest — and shortest — form of the game over the past two years at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
That old venue is famous for holding the record number of ODIs, but the UAE capital has moved in and run out its neighbor to become T10’s new home.
For Shajji Ul-Mulk, the league’s chairman, the move could help take the format to the next level.
“We are very pleased to be moving to Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, as we take one of the world’s most exciting sporting cities by storm,” Ul-Mulk said.
“The third season of T10 cricket will give over 100,000 fans the chance to see some of the biggest names in cricket battle it out on the pitch over 90 fast minutes of action.”
Abu Dhabi, while not having the rich cricketing history of its UAE northern neighbor, has hosted some Test matches, ODIs and T20s, but it is hoped that hosting the T10 league will further establish it in the minds of cricket fans as a global venue.
Matt Boucher, the acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, said: “This move to Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium represents a big next step in the growth of Abu Dhabi’s cricketing ecosystem, by giving fans access to a combined sports and entertainment offering through hosting all forms of the game.
“Whether it’s international Test matches or the now shortest form of cricket the game has to offer, we are continuing to be the home of the sport in the UAE.”
The T10 format — in which both sides have 10 overs to score as many runs as possible — was introduced in the UAE two years ago. In its short lifespan so far, it has already made a name for itself and has designs on going global.
Ul-Mulk has grand plans to export cricket’s latest white-ball phenomenon far and wide.
“(Cricket) boards are coming to us and it’s all about how we fit in commercially. We will probably have one more T10 in 2019; that’s our ambition,” he said last November.
“We are talking to a few boards, but it depends on how it goes. One thing is very clear: We only want to work with boards.”
Ul-Mulk did not reveal which boards he is in direct talks with, but did hint at the format having a possible future not only in traditional cricket heartlands such as England and South Africa, but also the US.
“The US market is great, the UK market is excellent for cricket, and South Africa, too, for that matter,” he said.
“With T10 the way it is, with 90 minutes (of) cricket, (it) actually opens up new markets that cricket doesn’t have now.
“For us, the US is one of those big markets where we feel that we can reconnect cricket there. Cricket can have a strong place in the US, which it doesn’t have at the moment.”

Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

Updated 09 July 2020

Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

ROME: Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the Scudetto, AC Milan decided returning to the pinnacle of football required a new approach.

Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans.

And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team that just won their league for the first time in 30 years?

“We have been talking to Liverpool,” Milan chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig told The Associated Press, “because they’ve been through the same path as we are going through now.”

Milan are enduring their longest Serie A drought since the 1980s. Despite beating leader Juventus on Tuesday, even the top four Champions League places are out of reach in this pandemic-delayed season. It’s been seven years since Milan last competed in Europe’s elite competition.

“We’re working very hard to get back to where we should be, and from that perspective, it does help open doors when you have won seven Champions Leagues,” Stylsvig said. 

“Playing European football is top of the agenda. It is our natural habitat and somewhere we should be.”

Only Real Madrid has lifted the European Cup more often than Milan. But that seventh title was won 13 years ago, by beating Liverpool.

Now Liverpool are the lodestar for Milan, which have fallen to 21st in the Deloitte ranking of football’s moneymakers with revenue of €206.3 million  ($234 million) in the last financial year, a third of the income at the newly crowned Premier League champions.

“Four, five years ago, no one considered Liverpool and see where they are now,” Stylsvig said. “They obviously play very attractive football. They are winning, they have a fantastic manager, a fantastic team and now they are following suit from a commercial perspective. It has taken time, but their model seems to work.”

Liverpool have been run for a decade by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group. Milan have also had American ownership for three years since the takeover by the Elliott Management hedge fund.

“We are obviously a global brand,” Stylsvig said in a telephone interview. “I’ve probably been talking too much in the Italian market in the last few years and (the coronavirus) sort of pushed us to think more global again.”

The pandemic that shut down sports produced the first public manifestation of the partnership with Roc Nation when Milan staged a live virtual fundraising concert headlined by Alicia Keys.

“I do think merging sport and entertainment could be the way of engaging new fans,” Stylsvig said. “The world has changed dramatically and we need to follow suit. Roc Nation is helping us, challenging us with that, having someone on the sideline to do that.”

The biggest audiences logging in to watch “From Milan with Love” were from China and the US.

With no games being played during the three-month Serie A shutdown — and crowds still prohibited from matches — Milan have had to find new ways of connecting with its fan base and fulfilling commercial deals.

“It’s been incredibly challenging,” Stylsvig said. “You basically have to rethink the model. So one of the first things we did was focusing much more on a digital space, creating content and trying to be engaging and trying to talk to our partners.”

Further down the line is moving into a new stadium, with plans to rebuild the San Siro it shares with Inter Milan.

“That will change the club,” Stylsvig said. “The revenues are incredibly important but also for the perception of the club.”