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.
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. While the BCCI did not disclose the amount the rights went for, Variety understands that they are in the region of $721 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 secretary Jay Shah posted on X: “Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the @BCCI Media Rights for both linear and digital for the next 5 years. India Cricket will continue to grow in both spaces as after @IPL, and @wplt20, we extend the partnership @BCCI Media Rights as well. Together we will continue to capture the imagination of cricket fans.”
“Also a big thank you to @starindia @DisneyPlusHS for your support over the years. You played a key role in making India Cricket reach its fans across the globe,” Shah added.
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.”