Viacom18, a joint venture between American entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS and Mukesh Ambani’s Network18 has been on a shopping spree for the broadcasting rights of some of the premium sporting events in the country. The company has recently acquired the broadcasting rights of several global sports leagues such as La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and has reportedly laid its hands on the FIFA World Cup in 2022. According to reports Viacom18 is eyeing to acquire the media rights of the Indian Premier League as well.
The joint venture entity is on a hiring spree for setting up its sports broadcasting team. Interestingly, Viacom18 is eying for renowned leaders who have previously been working with the established sports networks such as Star Sports.
Earlier this month, Viacom18 hired Anil Jayaraj as the CEO of their Sports Business. He was previously associated with Star Sports where he was the Executive Vice President of Advertisement Revenue and Sales. He has been instrumental in commercially monetizing big cricket properties owned by the network like the Indian Premier League (IPL), BCCI & ICC events.
After a 6.5-year stint with Star Sports, Jayaraj’s move to the network’s prime competitor is surely set to blaze up the fire between the two entities.
According to SportsMint sources, Star Sports have got a major issue in front of them as three team members holding key leadership and management positions in the organisation have resigned from the company.
The first one that has reportedly resigned from his role is Mr Sunil Pasricha, he was the Executive Vice President of Traffic & Presentation at Star Sports. He has been working with the broadcaster since the year 1999, even when Star Sports was in a joint venture with ESPN.
He has been responsible for making sure of seamless ad operations across their sports network. With Star Sports being considered as a leader in ad operations, Pasricha’s exit would certainly affect the broadcaster.
One more executive who has reportedly resigned from Star Sports is Mr Vignesh V, who is the Vice President of Sales, Strategy, and Brand Solutions at Star Sports and Hotstar. He has been the key figure behind creating ad sales strategies for the network. He manages the Go-To-Market strategy for Sirius-a vertical that enables cross-screen media planning with sharper targeting across Hotstar and Television.
He is the one figure who has been key in deciding the price points and ad formats for the sponsors and advertisers. His sudden exit from the established broadcasting network will also surely create problems for the organisation.
The third executive from Star Sports who has reportedly left the network is Mr Anupam Joshi, who is the Vice President of Customer Strategy & Marketing at Star. He is yet another professional who holds a key managerial position at the network. He is responsible for developing and managing customer relations, he used to work with the clients directly to solve their problems.
All three executives being mentioned above have been handling key backend work at the network and are the backbone for their specific departments.
Although there have not been any specific announcements of them quitting Star to join Viacom18. All the buzz around Viacom18 planning to start a sports channel does suggest that they would be joining the network backed by Mukesh Ambani in the coming months.
Sources report that Viacom18 has been offering massive increments to the newly hired executives for making them shift quickly to their network.
It is also important to note that the three executives mentioned above were a part of the team working under Anil Jayaraj in the domains of ad sales & revenue.
All of this comes in continuation to the chain of events that Viacom18 has undertaken to break into the sports broadcasting industry. It started with the network acquiring the media rights for various sports leagues around the world. After acquiring licenses for new sports channels in the country, they hired Jayaraj as the CEO of their Sports Business.
These events are reported to be followed with Viacom18 scouting further executive members from Star Sports, with Anil trying to set up a leadership team under him. Once the leadership team is in place, the network would then follow up with hiring other members for their ad sales & revenue team as well.
All of these events have reportedly created a big fear within the management team of the Star Sports network. The flow of events suggests that the competition between the two giants of the broadcasting industry in the country is going to get more and more intense in the coming months.