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Viacom18 secures global rights to Women’s IPL cricket in $116m deal

In another significant landmark for the commercial development of women’s sport, Indian-based media giant Viacom18 has secured global TV and digital rights to new cricketing competition the Women’s Indian Premier League for $116m over five years.

The deal was announced by Indian cricket governing body the BCCI, whose president Roger Binney said: “I would like to congratulate Viacom18 for bagging the media rights for Women’s IPL for the period of five years. Women’s cricket has been on the up since a few years and the recently concluded bilateral series against Australia is a great testament to how popular women’s cricket has become in India.”

Like its men’s counterpart, the ambition for the Women’s IPL is that it can grow into a global T20 franchise – attracting players and audiences from around the world. The inaugural event is expected to involve five teams and commence in March 2023.

Viacom18, which is 51% owned by Reliance’s Network18 and 49% owned by Paramount, also has a package of rights to the men’s IPL, which it will stream this year. Presumably, it will take a similar approach in India with the women’s IPL. Internationally, one option would be to show the WIPL on Paramount’s streaming platform Paramount+, but some territory rights could be licensed to third parties.

While the new deal is clearly a step forward for women’s rights valuations, the gulf with the men’s game is still enormous. The new deal values WIPL rights at around $23m a year, compared to the $1.2bn a year secured by the men’s competition.

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