Viacom18 Wins Digital, TV Rights to India’s Home Cricket Matches for $721 Million

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18 media conglomerate has won both digital and TV rights for India’s domestic cricket matches for five years from Sept. 2023 to March 2028.

The rights do not include the Cricket World Cup later this year, which are held by Disney Star.

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The domestic cricket rights were e-auctioned on Aug. 31 by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). In the running were Disney Star, Sony Pictures Network India and Viacom18. The rights were sold for $721.1 million.

Viacom18 wins the rights for 88 games. In 2018, Disney Star had paid $944 million for 103 games. Viacom18 will stream the games on JioCinema and broadcast on TV on Sports18.

In 2022, India’s cricket media landscape was substantially reshaped when Viacom18 successfully bid $3 billion for digital rights to the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket championship, while Disney Star paid a similar amount for TV rights. Earlier this year, Viacom18 acquired media rights for the inaugural Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) seasons 2023-2027, for $116 million.

BCCI president Roger Binny said: “The recent BCCI e-auction has unequivocally demonstrated the vigor of cricket in India. The remarkable journey of Indian cricket, its meteoric rise on the global sporting arena, owes its success to the unwavering trust that people have vested in the BCCI leadership and its dedicated workforce. With the staunch support and collaboration of every stakeholder within our cricketing ecosystem, I am confident that we will continue to propel the brand BCCI to uncharted territories on the global sports stage.”

BCCI secretary Jay Shah added: “Our underlying goal remains to strike a harmonious equilibrium between cricket and commercial interests. BCCI remains deeply committed to nurturing sports development in India through the medium of cricket. The revenue generated from media rights is an essential catalyst for nurturing grassroots cricket across the nation – a cause that resonates deeply with us. It’s the legacy we leave behind and the positive impact we create in our country’s cricketing ecosystem that truly matters.”

Despite proposing an unsuccessful bid, N.P. Singh, MD and CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, said in a statement: “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the BCCI for a transparent and efficient e-bidding process and to the winners for securing the bilateral media rights. Our disciplined bid was grounded in market forecasts and a long-term growth strategy. We remain committed to delivering top-tier sporting entertainment as we continue to see growing enthusiasm across various sports genres.”

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