Cricket
How Rs 70,352 crore Reliance-Disney merger is game-changer for cricket in India

How Rs 70,352 crore Reliance-Disney merger is game-changer for cricket in India

Overall, the Reliance-Disney merger will significantly alter the landscape of cricket broadcasting in India, offering viewers a centralized platform for all major cricket events on Jio Cinema.

The mega-merger between Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Disney Star, valued at a staggering Rs 70,352 crore, is set to significantly impact the landscape of cricket broadcasting in India especially for India Cricket Team fans.

This strategic collaboration is poised to revolutionize the way cricket is consumed, impacting both linear and digital platforms. At the forefront of this transformation stands Jio Cinema, emerging as the premier digital destination for a comprehensive array of cricket content.

Here’s what you need to know:

One platform to rule them all in India Cricket

  • Jio Cinema, Reliance’s digital platform, is poised to become the premier destination for all major cricket events in India. This includes the Indian Premier League (IPL) Women’s Premier League (WPL), domestic cricket leagues and major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments.
  • Star Sports, India’s leading sports television channel, will continue to broadcast the same events on linear television.

Merging Giants: Reliance-Disney

  • This consolidation will likely lead to the phasing out of Disney Hotstar, another major digital platform currently holding ICC broadcast rights. These rights will seamlessly integrate into Jio Cinema.
  • Sports 18, another RIL-owned sports channel, may face redundancy or become a minor player. India bilateral series and the Women’s Premier League (WPL) could potentially be shown on Star Sports channels.

Regulatory Hurdles and Timeline:

  • The merger agreement, announced on February 28th, 2024, needs approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and legal authorities. This process is expected to take 10-12 months.
  • As a result, the upcoming IPL 2024 and the T20 World Cup in June will remain unaffected, with Star Sports and Hotstar continuing their broadcasts.
  • The earliest changes might be seen by the Champions Trophy next year, with Jio Cinema retaining the WPL and Star Sports potentially showcasing the women’s matches. The name “Jio Star Sports” could even emerge.

Impact on Regulatory Bodies:

  • Crucially, regulatory bodies governing cricket properties, such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), can anticipate strengthened partnerships. Both Jio and Disney Star are set to enhance and expand their platforms, ensuring a robust future for cricket broadcasting.

Overall, the Reliance-Disney merger will significantly alter the landscape of cricket broadcasting in India, offering viewers a centralized platform for all major cricket events on Jio Cinema. However, the exact future of platforms like Sports 18 and the timeline for these changes remain subject to regulatory approvals and further developments.

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