Cricket has little need to prove its value as India’s most popular sport — and now, one media company with loose American ties is shelling out nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to broadcast key games.
Viacom18 — of which Paramount Global owns a 13% stake via a subsidiary — has agreed to pay $721 million for the rights to broadcast India’s domestic cricket matches through March 2028.
The deal includes 88 matches in total, making the rights to each one worth more than $8 million.
Other bidders for the package included subsidiaries of Disney and Sony. The Board of Control for Cricket in India had reportedly tried in vain to get tech giants like Amazon and Alphabet — Google’s parent company — to bid on the rights.
This latest deal marks the continued emphasis on cricket from Viacom18, which is majority-owned by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, who also owns the most valuable franchise in India, per Forbes — the $1.3 billion Mumbai Indians.
Last year, the company paid $3 billion for digital rights to the Indian Premier League cricket championship, and earlier this year it spent $116 million on media rights for the inaugural Women’s Indian Premier League seasons from 2023-27.
Disney Star owns the Indian broadcast rights to the Cricket World Cup and the TV rights to the aforementioned IPL, but Disney could be exploring a sale of its Indian operations.