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Sky Sports to air 20:20 Club Championship

Sky Sports have been successful in their bid to win the rights to televise the inaugural International 20:20 Club Championship later this month.

Sony (India), Sky Sports (UK) and SuperSport (South Africa) have been successful in their bid to win the rights to televise the inaugural International 20:20 Club Championship. The three-day tournament, to be held at Grace Road, Leicester, from September 15 - 17, will see six club sides, containing some of the world’s leading players, battling it out to win the £25,000 first prize and the title of International 20:20 Club Champions.

Sony India will carry over 30 hours coverage to the Indian subcontinent and international subscribers. The broadcaster paid a US$ six figure sum to secure these rights.

SuperSport, South Africa’s leading sports network, will also carry the tournament, focusing on the participation of Nashua Titans, winners of the Pro20 Series, South Africa’s domestic 20:20 tournament. Sky Sports in the UK will carry a highlights package, adding to its coverage of the English Twenty20 Cup.

Sides from three continents will contest the inaugural International 20:20 Club Championship and these will include each and every champion team from those countries that currently hold 20:20 tournaments. This includes the 2005 Twenty20 Cup champions Somerset Sabres, the reigning Twenty20 Champions from Sri Lanka, the Chilaw Marians, the Pakistani ABN AMRO Twenty-20 cup champions Faisalabad Wolves and the 2005 Standard Bank Pro20 Series winners Nashua Titans from South Africa.

The hosts, Leicestershire Foxes, were the 2004 Twenty20 Cup champions and the team line-up is completed by the PCA Masters XI who will take the field with a number of current and past test and one-day international players from around the world.

Teams will be drawn into groups of three and will play two group matches on the Thursday and Friday of the tournament. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the finals day on Saturday which will consist of two semi-finals and a final.

The event is the brainchild of Investors in Cricket (IIC), the company that this year entered into a seven-year commercial partnership with Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Alex Balfour, Director of Strategy for Investors in Cricket, said, "There is a huge appetite for cricket on the Indian subcontinent and this is reflected in the partnership deal that has been negotiated with Sony. We had a number of very competitive tenders from Indian broadcasters but are certain that by choosing to partner with Sony, we will gain substantial exposure in India and internationally. This is mirrored by the interest shown by our other broadcast partners in the UK and South Africa."

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