Abu Dhabi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) radio commentary in three languages has become a big hit all over the Middle East.
Speaking to Gulf News, Ajay Sethi, the Dubai-based Channel 2 Group Corporation chairman and founder of Cricket Radio, said: “We are providing live ball-by-ball coverage of the seventh edition of the IPL in English, Hindi and Malayalam. The Channel 2 group are the exclusive radio rights holders in UAE and Middle East and the response towards our commentaries have been splendid.”
Listeners have been tuning into 89.1 and Gold FM. “The IPL coming to UAE is a great moment in cricket entertainment. We just concluded [coverage of the] World Twenty20 Cup in Dhaka and will continue to entertain our listeners.”
To ensure more involvement with the listeners, special prizes have been created. “We have special prizes for those who can predict the right number of boundaries or sixes from the match, the best entertainer of the match and even for correctly naming the dud of the day,” said Sethi.
As the exclusive right holders for the coverage, strong measures are in place to prevent radio piracy. “As we are the only exclusive radio station who has the rights to broadcast the IPL, we are very keen to protect our rights as many stations try to use our live updates and commercialise their coverage through advertisements. There is huge interest from sponsors and so we with the IPL team will take all appropriate action to counter this piracy against some Asian stations. In fact, we have issued notices to all to respect the law of the land,” he added.
Interestingly, Cricket Radio was founded in 2009 during the World Cup Twenty20 in England and was launched by Sunil Gavaskar, who is now the interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for IPL. Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev is the director of Channel 2. “Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have been the leading expert commentators on our radio station for many years as we have broadcast all ICC World Cups since 2007 globally,” said Sethi.