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Viacom18 inks three-year media rights deal with NBA

According to industry sources, the three-year deal is in the region of $1.2 to 1.5 million

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Dec 3, 2021 12:56 PM Updated- Dec 3, 2021 6:58 PM

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Viacom18 has inked a three-year media rights deal with National Basketball Association (NBA). As per the partnership, Viacom18 will deliver live NBA games and programming to fans in India across television and over-the-top streaming.

The acquisition of NBA rights will add to Viacom18's growing portfolio which includes FIFA World Cup, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue1, and Abu Dhabi T10 League.

According to industry sources, the three-year deal is in the region of $1.2 to 1.5 million which is a huge reduction from $20-21 million that NBA had received from the previous five-year deal with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI). Following the non-renewal of the deal with SPNI, NBA had signed Star Sports as the official broadcast partner for the 2021 NBA Play-offs and The Finals.

Apart from media rights, NBA India's other revenue streams include a fantasy sports deal with Dream11 and merchandise. According to NBA's own estimates, it has 6-7 million fans in India with a large chunk of them being casual fans.

Reliance, which is a majority shareholder in Viacom18 through TV18, is keen on developing basketball in India. In June 2010, IMG Reliance (now RISE Worldwide) had inked a 30-year deal with Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to launch professional basketball leagues in the country.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate also has a long-standing relationship with NBA in India through its non-profit organisation Reliance Foundation which supports various philanthropic initiatives. The foundation has partnered with NBA on the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme in India since 2013.

Beginning with the NBA’s landmark 75th Anniversary Season in 2021-22, Viacom18 as part of the partnership enabled and supported by RISE Worldwide will provide comprehensive coverage of the NBA’s regular season and marquee events in English and Hindi through its television channels Vh1 and MTV, and through its digital platforms Voot and Jio TV.

Coverage will include weekly live games, NBA All-Star, the NBA Play-In Tournament, the NBA Play-offs and the Finals. Viacom18 will also show daily highlights and create original NBA-themed programming that will run on a number of channels across its network.

“While sports are the biggest whitespace that we are entering, to build a truly inclusive and differentiated proposition, we need to look at diverse sporting events from across the globe,” said Viacom18 CEO - Sports Anil Jayaraj. “Basketball is a sport that is increasingly gaining attention and affinity in India.  Through this partnership with the NBA, not only do we want to make basketball mainstream, but also build its lifestyle appeal among sports fans.”

“Globally, basketball is more than a sport – it is a lifestyle,” said Viacom18 Head of Youth, Music, and English Entertainment Anshul Ailawadi. “As we look to build basketball into a cultural phenomenon in India, we welcome this deep partnership with the NBA.  Over the course of this association, we will be initiating a heavily localized marketing outreach and consumer connect programme aimed at building fandom for the sport.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Viacom18 to broadcast and stream live NBA games to a nationwide audience,” said Sunny Malik, Head of Global Content and Media Distribution, NBA India. “Basketball’s popularity in India continues to grow, and by offering a range of NBA programming on Viacom18 in both English and Hindi, we look forward to reaching and inspiring millions of new and existing NBA fans across the country.”

In September, the NBA named Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh the NBA Brand Ambassador for India and announced a collaboration with Lakmé Fashion Week, India’s premier fashion event, to celebrate the league’s landmark 75th Anniversary Season.

Singh will work with the NBA to help grow the league’s profile in India throughout its 75th Anniversary Season in 2021-22 and will be featured on NBA Style (@nbastyle_in), a new lifestyle-focused Instagram account for fans in India that showcases the convergence of the NBA and popular culture.

Fans in India can follow the NBA on NBA.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest league news, updates, scores, stats, schedules, and videos. Fans can also download the NBA App on iOS and Android to access NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service.

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