Viacom18 Triumph: Securing Indian Cricket Digital and TV Media Rights for $720 Million

In a groundbreaking move that has sent shockwaves through the sports and media industries, Viacom18 has successfully secured the coveted media rights for Indian cricket on both digital and television platforms. This historic deal, amounting to a staggering INR 5963 crore (approximately USD 720 million), covers the period from 2023 to 2028 and encompasses a total of 88 matches. The matches span across international and domestic cricket, excluding the IPL, and grant Viacom18 exclusive access to broadcast these events globally.


A Showdown of Titans: Viacom18 Emerges Victorious

The battle for these monumental rights was fierce, with two formidable competitors vying for supremacy – Disney Star* and Sony. However, it was Viacom18 that emerged triumphant by placing the highest bids in both the digital and television categories. In a meticulously orchestrated e-auction orchestrated by the BCCI, Viacom18 placed a bid of INR 3101 crore (approximately USD 375 million) for digital rights, followed by an astounding INR 2862 crore (approximately USD 346 million) for television rights. The bids from Disney Star and Sony, though noteworthy, remain shrouded in mystery.

A Seamless Transition: Viacom18 Takes the Reins

Stepping into the shoes of the previous rights holder, Disney Star, Viacom18 is no stranger to cricket broadcasting. The company had already secured digital rights for the IPL and held both digital and television rights for the Women’s Premier League (WPL). This new deal further solidifies Viacom18’s position as a key player in the realm of sports broadcasting.

Unveiling the Numbers: Valuation and Significance

Viacom18’s triumphant deal translates to a remarkable average per-match value of INR 67.75 crore, marking a significant 12.92% increase from the INR 60 crore paid by Star India in the previous cycle. Notably, in the preceding cycle (2018-23), Disney Star (formerly Star India) had secured the rights for India’s games globally by paying INR 6138 crore (then USD 944 million) for a total of 102 international matches. This time around, the BCCI offered rights to 88 international matches, further intensifying the competition.

Evolution of the Bidding Process

The evolution of the bidding process for BCCI rights is intriguing. In the previous cycle, three categories of rights were up for bidding: Indian subcontinent television rights and rest of the world digital rights (GTVRD), digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone (ID), and global consolidated rights (GCR). However, the winning bid fell within the last category. This time, the bidding was streamlined into two categories: TV rights for the Indian subcontinent only (base price INR 20 crore, or USD 2.42 million approximately) and digital rights for the Indian subcontinent combined with TV and digital rights for the rest of the world (base price INR 25 crore, or USD 3 million approximately).

The Exuberant Social Announcement

The excitement surrounding this monumental deal was palpable, and BCCI secretary Jay Shah made sure to spread the news through a tweet on a Thursday evening, marking a significant moment in the cricket and media industries.

A Recap of Recent Victories

Viacom18’s recent victories in the media rights arena have solidified its position as a formidable force. During the IPL media rights bidding, Viacom18 secured digital rights for the Indian subcontinent, as well as television and digital rights across three global regions – Australia + New Zealand, the UK, and South Africa – for an impressive INR 23,758 crore (then USD 3 billion approximately). Notably, Disney Star had also secured IPL TV rights for the Indian subcontinent during the same auction.

A New Perspective on Financial Valuation

A critical comparison between the winning bids for BCCI rights in 2018 and the present cycle reveals a 2.8% decline in value, although this cycle features 14 fewer matches. The shift in focus, however, has been towards the exponential sums paid for IPL rights, indicating a recalibration in the financial valuation of bilateral cricket rights. The IPL has ascended to global prominence, second only to the NFL in terms of per-match value following the sale of five-year rights (2023-27) for a staggering INR 48,390.5 crore (then USD 6.2 billion approximately).

Disney Star’s Retention and Times Internet’s Involvement

Amidst the flurry of bids and acquisitions, Disney Star managed to retain the TV rights in the Indian subcontinent, a deal worth INR 23,575 crore (then USD 3 billion approximately). Additionally, Times Internet secured the overall media rights for two other global regions – the Middle East (INR 205 crore/USD 26.27 million approximately) and the USA (INR 258 crore/USD 33.06 million approximately), making significant contributions to the shifting landscape.

Crunching the Numbers: Winning Bids and Valuation

Disney Star’s winning TV bid amounted to INR 57.5 crore (then USD 7.36 million approximately) per match. Meanwhile, Viacom18’s winning bids averaged out to roughly INR 58 crore (then USD 7.43 million approximately) per match. This includes INR 50 crore (then USD 6.40 million approximately) per match for subcontinent digital rights and an additional INR 33.24 crore (then USD 4.26 million approximately) per match for a non-exclusive package of high-profile games (ranging between 18 and 22 matches). When considering Times Internet’s contributions, this brings the total to approximately INR 115 crore per match.

Conclusion: A Paradigm Shift in Cricket Broadcasting

The acquisition of Indian cricket’s digital and television media rights by Viacom18 for a colossal sum of USD 720 million has marked a paradigm shift in the sports broadcasting landscape. As the cricketing world continues to evolve, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences, this historic deal will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the way we experience and engage with the sport.


Q1: What does Viacom18’s historic media rights deal entail? A1: Viacom18’s media rights deal encompasses both digital and television rights for Indian cricket, covering a period of 2023-28, excluding the IPL.

Q2: Who were Viacom18’s competitors in the bidding process? A2: Viacom18 faced competition from Disney Star* and Sony in the bidding process.

Q3: What was the value of Viacom18’s winning bids for digital and television rights? A3: Viacom18 secured digital rights for INR 3101 crore (USD 375 million approx.) and television rights for INR 2862 crore (USD 346 million approx.).

Q4: How does the value of Viacom18’s bid compare to previous cycles? A4: Viacom18’s bid reflects a 12.92% increase in average per-match value compared to the previous cycle.

Q5: What impact does this deal have on bilateral cricket rights? A5: This deal highlights the relative decline in value of bilateral cricket rights compared to the exponential sums paid for IPL rights.

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