Viacom18 has eliminated the opposition and secured the sought-after streaming rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.
According to The Times of India, the company paid a whopping 205 billion rupees ($2.6 billion) for the rights to the Indian subcontinent, covering the next five years.
In a streaming market as competitive as India’s, the online IPL deal will put the company Paramount Global, Reliance Industries and Bodhi Tree Systems directly in the spotlight and attract many new subscribers to its services.
Meanwhile, Disney-owned Star India has retained the rights to the TV broadcasts and paid a whopping 236 billion rupees ($3 billion) for the privilege. The company previously held the streaming rights, which were seen as a driving factor behind Disney+ Hotstar to become the largest player in the Indian market. Losing the online rights is a big blow, but Disney will have simply found the cost too high as it paid significantly less for both TV and online in 2017.
The deals bring the combined value of the rights to the Indian subcontinent to $5.6 billion for the 410 games, usually played in April and May.
The auction is still ongoing and TV and digital rights to the tournament outside India and select non-exclusive matches are up for grabs. The bidding is expected to take place on Tuesday and official announcements will follow.
Cricket is the national pastime in India and attracts millions of viewers to matches. Popular players can match the star power of Bollywood’s biggest names and the chatter surrounding the IPL auction has steadily grown into a major news event.
Amazon was tipped to bid but decided against a move last week, leaving many Sony Corp tips as a favorite. However, Viacom18 has invaded and is sure to see a surge in subs now.