Fanatics of cricket's Twenty20 version could enjoy the thrills and spills of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on the big screen in theatres across the UAE soon.
Entertainment & Sports Direct (ESD), which has acquired the IPL global theatrical rights to matches in the league until 2019 for Rs3.3 billion (Dh270 million), has joined hands with Al Nisr Cinema and Gulf Films to bring the stadium-like experience for cricket fans in the UAE with live screenings in high-definition quality at nine theatres across the country. The media were given a sneak preview of the high octane IPL entertainment at its best at Grand Cineplex 6 on Sunday night as Delhi Daredevils beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Promoted by DAR Capital Group, ESD is focused on sports and entertainment related content acquisition. It has tied up with UFO Moviez to facilitate the exhibition of these matches in cinema screens.
"This is the first time anywhere in the world a major sporting event is being telecast in cinema hall. The challenge has always been technology. Our technology partners have been able to overcome that challenge," said Arun Rangachari, Chairman of DAR Capital Group.
UAE was not on the radar initially but they were spurred by the success of the venture in India. "In India, it is huge. The response has been tremendous," Rangachari said.
"IPL has one of the strongest following internationally in the UAE. I don't see why it should not succeed here," he added.
"Where can you get a stadium-like experience when you can't to India and watch the match," he said when asked why people should go to a cinema to watch a cricket match. "It's a very unique format. Our India experience has been fabulous. We see the same happening here also."