The Walt Disney Co. DIS has secured the Indian subcontinent television rights to Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket, despite earlier reservations from CEO Bob Chapek regarding the company’s enthusiasm in pursuing this sporting event.
What Happened: According to The Times of India, Disney acquired the television rights to broadcast the matches in the Indian subcontinent for $3 billion. This was one of four different media rights packages that the IPL was negotiating for 2023 through 2027. Disney came into the IPL orbit through its 2019 acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets that included Star India, which acquired the rights for the 2018 through 2022 seasons; Star India is now Disney+ Hotstar.
Deadline reported that Disney was in competition against Sony Group Corp. SONY and India's Reliance Industries in the bidding competition. Amazon AMZN had initially considered bidding but dropped out after the bidding levels became elevated; Variety cited Netflix NFLX and Meta Platforms Inc. META as potential bidders, but neither company appears to be actively pursuing this opportunity.
Questions circulated regarding whether Disney was gung-ho to retain its involvement in IPL presentations. Deadline also noted comments made by Chapek in last February’s earnings call that this was not a must-have goal because the company was focused on generating original content for the South Asia market.
“While certainly, it’s an important component,” Chapek said, “the local content that we’re developing really will mitigate the impact of this if we were not to win the auction on IPL.”
What Else Happened: According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Indian subcontinent digital rights to the multiweek IPL cricket tournament for 2023 through 2027 were sold for $2.6 million to Viacom18, a joint venture between Paramount Global PARAA, India's Reliance Industries and the James Murdoch-Uday Shankar investment company Bodhi Tree Systems.
The international television and streaming rights have yet to be assigned, with negotiations scheduled to continue on June 14.
Photo: PublicResource.org/Flickr Creative Commons
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