Mayday, mayday: DStv has announced it will not be broadcasting the world’s biggest domestic cricket league – the Indian Premier League (IPL). To make matters worse, the broadcaster only tweeted out the news of the loss yesterday, just under 24 hours before the inaugural match of the 2023 season is set to begin.
Oh, but it gets worse. So much worse. DStv’s annual price hike is set to kick in from tomorrow, 1 April, charging customers more for the right to not watch the IPL — a feature that many customers pay for.
A bigger blow than the wolf’s own
𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓: SuperSport previously held broadcast rights to the IPL. Discussions with the rights holder have unfortunately been unsuccessful and SuperSport will therefore not broadcast the IPL as of this year’s edition.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 30, 2023
Who is to blame for the loss? Viacom18, a venture between Paramount Global and Reliance Industries – is the current owner of the IPL’s broadcasting rights and will remain so until 2027. It is reported that Viacom18 spent somewhere in the region of $2.6 billion to $3 billion to secure the broadcasting and streaming rights of the IPL in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and South-East Asia until 2027.
Should DStv seek to re-obtain the broadcasting rights, it would need to purchase them from Viacom18. Which, according to DStv’s statement, isn’t something that’s happening this year. DStv may spend more to secure the rights for the 2024 tournament, though we’d advise you to not hold your breath.
Read More: DStv has plans to broadcast the Rugby World Cup in 4K (but don’t get your hopes up just yet)
Nothing to fall back on
With the loss of the IPL, customers will at least have the Proteas to watch. Right?
Whether DStv can hold onto the rights for international cricket remains to be seen. Near the back end of 2022, it was announced that none other than Viacom18 would have exclusive digital and TV rights for cricket on an international scale. The deal is a partnership between Viacom18 and Cricket South Africa, with the deal spanning from 2024 to 2031.
“Viacom18 will present all senior men’s international and senior women’s international competitions played in South Africa,” the announcement states.
It could mean the end of the Protea’s efforts on SuperSport if DStv isn’t able to negotiate a deal to broadcast them. It’s expected that both the IPL and international scene will be available on the Paramount+ streaming service, which, according to Thinus Ferreira, could be launching in South Africa in 2023.
There is a chance that Paramount+ will be available on DStv, as Viacom is open to the idea of “hard bundles” – similar to the deals both Showmax and Disney+ have struck with the broadcaster. We’ll have to wait for the official launch to be sure.