Dubai Sports Channel, the Arabic sports entertainment television channel run by Dubai Government's Department of Information, will soon be adding live coverage of cricket matches to its extensive repertoire.

The three-year-old network which broadcasts various national and international sporting events live - including football, horse races, camel races, tennis, powerboat, volleyball and basketball - is planning to expand and bring variety in its programming and contents, according to a government official.

Rashid Amiri.©Gulf News
The channel will shortly add live coverage of cricket matches and is likely to begin with the one-day-internationals to be held at the Dubai Cricket Council from October 18 to 26. England, Australia and Bangladesh are likely to take part in the tri-nation tournament.

This will be the first cricket tournament to be telecast live on the channel.

Rashid Amiri, Assistant Manager of Dubai Sports Channel, said that his team is preparing for live telecast of the one-day international event.

"We are bringing in specialists from different places, including India, to train people on the game, rules of the matches, commentary and other aspects, to offer a comprehensive coverage of cricket matches to our valued customers."

The channel, established in 1998 with 60 personnel, has grown from a terrestrial channel to a free-to-air channel and has recently been packaged under E-Vision's basic package which allows customers a choice of about 90 channels.

Its total employee strength has risen to 120 professionals and the organisation is in the process of hiring new people to meet future needs.

Amiri said the channel is currently available in various parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa through Asiasat, Nilesat and Arabsat. "It is also accessible to viewers in North America through regional satellites."

Amiri noted that the Dubai Sports Channel caters to the sports entertainment needs of Arab viewers throughout the world.

"We cater to the sports entertainment needs of mainly Arab viewers in different parts of the world. Arab viewers enjoy the commentary in Arabic while watching the live action," he added.

"We normally do not miss an event that would attract our viewers and try to broadcast from wherever it takes place. We also get feedback from our viewers from Europe and the USA thanking us for the wonderful coverage of events.

"Currently, we are giving an extensive coverage of the Mediterranean Games being held in Tunis."

Amiri explained that from October to April, his crews remain busy covering local sports events.

"Sometimes, we have to cover four events live in a day, which is too much for a TV network, especially when these stretch over a long while, such as horse racing, camel racing, Rugby Sevens, Dubai Tennis Open, Dubai World Cup. We do an extensive coverage of all the sports events that take place in the emirate as it has now become the sports and leisure capital of the Middle East."