Disney and Viacom18 to acquire media rights to IPL cricket tournament – TechCrunch

Disney and Mukesh Ambani-backed Viacom18 have won the five-year media rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. multiple local sports journalistsbeating rivals, including Sony, with a license that gave the California-headquartered giant a big head start in amassing more than 200 million subscribers.

Viacom18 – a venture between Reliance and Paramount – scored the streaming rights for the Indian subcontinent with a bid of $2.63 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Disney acquired the TV rights to broadcast the games in the Indian subcontinent for $3 billion, according to local reporters.

Viacom18, Disney and Sony did not comment.

Started in 2008, the Indian Premier League has contributed to the popularity of cricket in the country and beyond. About two months a year, some of the world’s top players visit India to compete in three-hour title matches. Each match attracts more than 50,000 fans to the stadium and hundreds of millions of people follow it on TV and online.

Eight teams took part in the tournament for the first few years, but the number has since grown to 10 after Indian billionaire Sanjiv Goenka bought two teams for nearly $750 million and $950 million, respectively, figures well above its valuation. several clubs in the English Premier League, the richest competition in football.

Disney, which has owned media rights to IPL for the past five years through its subsidiary Star India, has seen the sporting event help its streaming service Hotstar attract tens of millions of subscribers and break several global streaming records.

However, some analysts had recommended that the company pull out of the bidding because Indian subscribers don’t bring much revenue to Disney, making it difficult to justify the high price tag for the rights.

“I would love nothing more than if they didn’t get the IPL rights and roll back their subscriber numbers,” Michael Nathanson, senior media analyst at MoffettNathanson, told WSJ earlier this month. “It would indicate a focus on financial discipline and return on capital.”

Reliance had made it clear in recent months what the IPL rights were. In the run-up to the auction, TV network Viacom18 partnered with – and raised capital from – James Murdoch and Uday Shankar’s firm Bodhi Tree. The duo previously ran Star India and their bet on Hotstar and cricket streaming made the Indian app a crown jewel in Disney’s portfolio.

“The global sports industry has emerged as a tremendous growth opportunity, with a CAGR of 8.2% of US sports media rights revenue through CY12-21, accounting for 45.2% of global media rights revenue in 2021. Of this impressive pie, football has a lion’s share of 39%. But of all sports, cricket reigns supreme in the Indian market, with a staggering 94% share of media rights, compared to just 3% globally,” analysts at Elara Capital wrote earlier this month.

“Cricket can continue to enjoy such sheer dominance in India in the medium term, supported by major lucrative properties such as the Indian Premiere League (IPL). So expect IPL renewal in the medium term to support the growth of media rights in India.”

Amazon, another major player that had expressed an interest in bidding for the rights, withdrew days before the auction. Meta, which last bid for the streaming rights and secured some content rights for ICC cricket events three years ago, and Google would also participate in the auction.

This post Disney and Viacom18 to acquire media rights to IPL cricket tournament – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/06/13/disney-and-ambani-backed-viacom18-said-to-acquire-media-rights-for-ipl-cricket-tournament/”

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