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Viacom18 and Disney said to score Indian cricket league deals

Jun 13, 2022
Illustration of a cricket playing hitting a ball through a television screen

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Viacom18 and Disney have each secured deals for the Indian Premier League auction, the Times of India reported Monday.

  • Viacom18 has agreed to pay $2.6 billion for the 2023-2027 IPL streaming rights in India. Disney has agreed to pay $3 billion for the league's TV rights in India.

Why it matters: The cricket games will bring a surge of subscribers to Viacom18, though the economics of owning this agreement is hard yards. Disney, the previous streaming rights holder, had inherited those rights via its Fox acquisition.

  • Losing IPL means shedding tens of millions of streaming subscribers for Disney, but it also means saying goodbye to a minuscule ARPU that it earned through the deal.

Details: Viacom18 is a joint venture among Paramount, Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries and Uday Shankar and James Murdoch's Bodhi Tree Systems.

  • Other companies in the auction included Sony India. Amazon, Alphabet and Apple dropped out, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Star India, now owned by Disney, had spent $2.5 billion for the 2017-2022 rights for TV and streaming. But the rights were split into four packages this time, separating streaming and TV. Disney's reported win is only for the TV rights in India.

What's next: We're still awaiting the official results for all of the auctions.

The bottom line: "The most popular sport in the world’s second-most populous nation, the IPL is considered the crown jewel of sports rights in cricket-mad India, a property akin to the NFL in the United States. Holding the rights is considered an overnight accelerator for both TV viewership and digital consumption in India." — Patrick Brzeski, THR

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Disney's agreement to own the TV rights, per the Times of India's reporting.

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