Viacom18 is currently on a spree of acquiring media rights for several global sports competitions. A joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Network18 and American entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS, Viacom18 has already initiated the process of stepping into the sports broadcasting sector. According to the sources, the entertainment network is in the active race of acquiring the rights in India for the highly anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup and is almost certain of winning the bid. Viacom18’s bid for the football world cup is reportedly higher than Sony and other bidders in the race.
The bid for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup was won by Qatar, with a population of two million people, it will become the first Arab state to host the football world cup. An Asian country hosting the football world cup will be highly profitable for Viacom18 who is on the verge of acquiring the rights. India is just 2 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Qatar, without much time difference, the Mukesh Ambani-backed organization can cater to a larger audience from the Indian subcontinent. The viewership for the football world cup in India may rise to new levels, which would eventually benefit Viacom18. Apart from the booming viewership, the TV network will also receive a plethora of sponsorships and brand deals ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mukesh Ambani has a stronghold in the OTT sector with Jio Platforms, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries and Voot (which is owned by Viacom18). Following the acquisition, the marquee international football tournament will also stream on the well established OTT platforms of Reliance Industries and Viacom18.
Viacom18 entered into the arena of sports broadcasting in the year 2018, when they made their first acquisition by buying the rights of the tri-series played between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, ‘Nidahas Trophy’. The tri-series was aired on its movie channel Rishtey Cineplex, which is now known as Colors Cineplex. Viacom18 also acquired the rights of the ‘Road Safety World Series‘ – a cricket tournament featuring legends who have retired from the game.
Earlier this year, Viacom18 also bought the rights of La Liga in India, the Spanish league is aired on Viacom18’s channel MTV along with the OTT platforms. Following La Liga’s acquisition, the company also landed the rights of Serie A and Abu Dhabi T10 league.
According to reports, Viacom18 is also aiming to bid for the IPL 2022. The Board of Control for Cricket in India will be releasing the tender for the IPL 2022, later this year. Viacom18 will be battling Sony, Star and Disney to acquire the media rights for the lucrative Indian domestic league.