About OPI Sports
OPI Sports DMCC is a recently established Dubai-based Sports Management company. Along with the Emirates Cricket Board, OPI Sports aims to promote and position the UAE as the ultimate destination for global cricket, both through developing local grassroots mechanisms as well as executing world-class events.
Co-founded by veteran financial sector expert and sports management aficionado, Salman Sarwar Butt, OPI Sports has signed an exclusive contract to design, develop, and organize the UAE’s first international T20 cricket league. The first edition of the tournament, slated to be played in December 2018 – January 2019, will follow the hugely successful franchise-based model with five teams competing against each other.
OPI Sports is working hand-in-glove with the Emirates Cricket Board to develop cricket at the grassroots level by engaging with various local cricket councils as well as schools and corporates. This initiative aims to showcase and bring new talent to the fore, providing them a platform where they can excel and become professional cricketers competing at the highest level.
According to research, cricket is the second most watched sports in the UAE, after football. With over 2 million residents from the sub continent who are passionate about cricket, this sport is followed and viewed commonly in the UAE. T20 is the most popular form of the sport – is exciting and has rapidly been gaining momentum with followers from across the globe. Hosting this tournament will give residents teams to call their own away from home while at the same time attract tourist fans interested in following favorite participating players.
The UAET20X will conform to best-in-class international standards as the UAE’s national T20 event and the highest profile event in the UAE’s sports calendar. UAET20X is designed to be a world-class cricket tournament in design, organization, management, quality, practices, compliance with rules and regulations, profile, participants, entertainment and values. In the long run, the objective is to make the UAET20X a leading international T20 franchise league globally. Given the UAE’s very attractive profile and dynamics as a growingly important ICC member and an international events destination, this seems well within grasp. The tournament will be an annual affair run on the successful franchise-based model that has seen other cricket leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The tournament will be played in three world standard venues across the UAE i.e. Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium (Abu Dhabi), Dubai Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium. It will be a unique elite international tournament, featuring top cricket players from across the globe playing with Associate Board member players, emerging international talent as well as locals, helping to make the UAE the ultimate global cricket destination.
The inaugural edition of the tournament will see five franchise-based teams competing for the crown with potential increments in teams in subsequent seasons.
The tournament is planned to start in December 2018 and will conclude in January 2019.