In a historic move in the world of cricket broadcasting, Viacom18, a joint venture of Reliance Industries and Viacom CBS, has emerged as the winner of the highly coveted TV and digital rights for the Indian cricket team’s home matches for the next five years, from 2023 to 2028. This announcement was made after a fiercely competitive e-auction conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Viacom18 clinched a remarkable deal for INR 5,966 crore (approximately $825 million). This includes the broadcast rights for all international matches played by India within the Indian subcontinent, including Test matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). The winning bid showcases Viacom18’s determination to expand its sports portfolio, having already acquired digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Significance of the Deal
The deal signifies the popularity of cricket in India, where millions of fans passionately follow the sport. India’s cricket team, one of the most successful globally, continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Compared to the previous cycle, the substantial increase in media rights value brings out the commercial appeal of cricket in the Indian context.
In the previous cycle, Disney Star had secured the media rights for INR 6,138 crore ($834 million) for four years. This time, Viacom18 has outbid competitors Disney Star and Sony Sports Network, and the rights will be in effect from the 2023-24 season until the 2027-28 season.
Viacom18’s winning bid translates to an average per-match value of INR 67.75 crore, a remarkable 12.92% increase over the INR 60 crore paid by Disney Star in the previous cycle. The package includes 88 international matches, comprising 25 Tests, 27 ODIs, and 36 T20Is. While the BCCI fell short of the one-billion-dollar mark, the increased per-match valuation reflects the growing importance of marquee Test matches and series against cricketing powerhouses like England and Australia.
Impact on BCCI and Cricket Development
This colossal media rights deal is the next big thing for Viacom18 and a significant boost for the BCCI, which stands as the wealthiest cricket board globally. The revenue generated from this deal will be instrumental in improving cricket infrastructure in India.
“The revenue generated from media rights is an essential catalyst for nurturing grassroots cricket nationwide—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,” said Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI.
Viacom18’s victory in securing the TV and digital rights for the IPL has further solidified the league’s status as a global cricketing powerhouse. The IPL media rights were acquired for a staggering INR 48,940 crore ($6.2 billion), making it the most expensive media rights deal in cricket history. The per-match value for IPL games has more than doubled, emphasizing the league’s appeal.
The Future of Cricket Broadcasting
This deal cements Viacom18’s presence in the cricket broadcasting arena and raises questions about the future of cricket media rights. With the exponential growth of the IPL and the declining popularity of bilateral ODI series, there’s a shift in the dynamics of cricket broadcasting. The area continues to evolve, focusing on delivering top-tier sporting entertainment to a global audience.
Viacom18’s success in securing the TV and digital rights for the Indian cricket team’s home matches is vital to the never-dying appeal of cricket in India. With its eye-popping numbers, this deal will reshape the cricket broadcasting landscape for years to come, opening new avenues for the sport’s growth and development. As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the 2023-24 season, the stage is set for an exciting era in cricket broadcasting.
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