After failing to attract bids from the Indian broadcasters for their newly-launched SA20, Cricket South Africa have decided to go for a back-of-the-door negotiation with Viacom18 to telecast the tournament on Sports 18 television channel and on Jio platforms digitally for the next 10 years. Even though the exact figures are not announced, it is expected that the strategic partnership would be over 100 million for 10 years.
"We continue to offer fans an immersive and engaging experience by strengthening our sports portfolio with some of the best cricket action through SA20," said Viacom18 Sports CEO Anil Jayaraj. "T20 is the most popular cricket format with Indian fans. The history and legacy of South Africa cricket and the popularity of South African cricketers in India make it a thrilling proposition for cricket fans in India. We expect significant viewership and fan engagement as the event will be played in prime-time."
🚨BREAKING NEWS 🚨— SA20_League (@SA20_League) November 2, 2022
We’re thrilled to announce that Viacom18 Sports has acquired the broadcast rights for the #SA20 League. A big welcome to @viacom18 and @Sports18, our Official Broadcast Partner in India: https://t.co/QxThjcbToQ pic.twitter.com/pIF1uTIe7K
Initially, the CSA thought they would find a taker for the six-team league, to be launched in January-February 2023, and the presence of Indian Premier League (IPL) owners made it even more plausible, but no Indian broadcaster showed up for the ITT.
CSA and SA20 authorities discussed with Indian companies like Star, Sony, Zee, Viacom and Amazon among others but unlike the ILT20, which is set to be played in Dubai next January, they failed to get any traction. They were forced to sit with the broadcasters for a back-of-the-door negotiation and that got them Viacom18 - a joint venture between Network 18, Bodhi Tree Systems and Viacom CBS.
"Today is a ground-breaking day for South African cricket. This long-term partnership between the SA20 and Viacom18 as our official Indian broadcaster is a catalyst that supports our ambitions to build the world's second biggest league," said SA20 League Commissioner and former South Africa captain Graeme Smith.
"With six IPL owners expanding their brands in South Africa, Viacom18 are the perfect partner to take the SA20 into the homes of the passionate and cricket-loving Indian market," he added.