Potential HK T20 Blitz audience of 175 million as global broadcasters sign up – but Aussie master blaster Chris Lynn out of the picture
The Big Bash sensation is picked for Australia’s T20 series against England and is unable to play in Hong Kong
Cricket Hong Kong’s distribution partner Sunset+Vine has secured broadcasting deals for the Hong Kong T20 Blitz that has the potential to reach 175 million viewers worldwide – but fans will miss out on Australian master blaster Chris Lynn, who is expected to pull out of the tournament after being picked by his national squad.
BT Sport (UK), Fox Sports (Australia), OSN (Middle East), Neo Sports (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), ESPN Caribbean, DSports (India) and Chinese-owned StarTimes (Africa) have signed up for the February 6-11 tournament at Mission Road with more deals in the pipeline.
However, Lynn – world cricket’s first million-dollar man when he signed a four-year deal with Brisbane Heat for Australia’s Big Bash League – is forced to pull out of the Hung Hom JD Jaguars team.
The 27-year-old Lynn, one of the world’s top T20 batsmen, was picked for Australia’s T20 series against England that clashes with the Blitz, although the tournament will still boast quality names in Kumar Sangakkara, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Smith and Sohail Tanvir, among others.
Taking part in this year’s tournament are Jaguars, defending champions Kowloon Cantons, City Kaitak, Galaxy Gladiators Lantau and Hong Kong Island United.
The broadcasting rights will allow the tournament to raise its profile around the world. Out of the potential 175 million audience, organisers are hoping at least 30 million will tune into the Blitz – a significant viewership that would help the Blitz secure more sponsorship for the future.
“It will help the relationship with existing and potential sponsors and offer more exposure and more advertising opportunities,” said CHK director Jonathan Cummings. “We will have a bigger reach and it enables sponsors to make use of in-game broadcast opportunities. It is good for the game of cricket and good for Hong Kong.
“Each year we have set ourselves the task of raising the bar. Last year, the increase in overseas players – and quality ones at that – saw the tournament attract enormous interest and a lot of the credit for that has to go to all the franchise owners who are committed to promoting the game in Hong Kong.
“Now that we are working with the ICC’s live events production partner Sunset+Vine, we are taking the tournament’s production values to the next level as we reach a truly global audience for the first time.”
CHK suffered losses amounting to several hundred thousand dollars at last year’s Blitz.
The partnership with Sunset+Vine will enable Cricket Hong Kong to produce its highest quality broadcast production to date as it continues to build on the momentum from the T20 Blitz live-stream last March, which attracted nearly 12 million views across digital channels.
Sunset+Vine is the production partner for all the International Cricket Council’s major events from 2016 to 2019, including the ICC World Cup and ICC World Twenty20 tournaments.
“This is a crucial moment for this exciting cricket franchise as more and more international broadcasters are coming on board,” said Huw Bevan, executive producer of Sunset+Vine.