Making new headwinds, the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled entertainment network has roped in top sports executive Anil Jayaraj to head the new company sports vertical as its chief executive. The company looks to foray into the sports broadcast industry.
Anil Jayaraj currently working as head of sales at Star Sports is likely to join Viacom18 next week. “Viacom18 has just started building a strong sports portfolio and Anil will be joining us as CEO – Sports business,” top company sources confirmed.
Jayaraj will report to Rahul Joshi, CEO, Viacom18. It is learned that the company has also acquired rights to the next FIFA World Cup 2022 – scheduled to be played in Qatar at the end of next year – for a whopping $55 million.
Earlier, the broadcaster had picked up media rights – broadcast and digital – for Italy's popular football league Serie A, Spanish football league La Liga, French football league League 1, ATP Masters (tennis), and Abu Dhabi T10 (cricket).
Viacom18, the joint venture between Ambani's TV18 and US entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS, has a clutch of entertainment channels in Hindi, English, and regional languages, as well as content studio and a video streaming service, Voot.
Sports industry experts believe that the timing of Jayaraj's hiring is perfect, as many sports rights will be coming up for auction or negotiations starting with the ICC rights (2024-2031) in November- December, the Indian Premier League (2023-2027) and the BCCI rights for the next cycle.