The U.S.’s National Basketball Association (NBA) and Indian media conglomerate Viacom18 have revealed a multiyear partnership to deliver live NBA games and programming to Indian audiences across television and streaming platforms.
Beginning with the NBA’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22, Viacom18, as part of a partnership supported by RISE Worldwide, will provide comprehensive coverage of the NBA’s regular season and marquee events in English and Hindi through TV channels Vh1 and MTV and via streamers Voot and JioTV.
Coverage will include weekly live games, NBA All-Star, the NBA Play-In Tournament, the NBA Playoffs and the finals. Viacom18 will also show daily highlights and create original NBA-themed programming that will run several across channels on its network.
Anil Jayaraj, CEO, Sports, Viacom18, said: “While sports are the biggest whitespace that we are entering, to build a truly inclusive and differentiated proposition, we need to look at diverse sporting events from across the globe. Basketball is a sport that is increasingly gaining attention and affinity in India. Through this partnership with the NBA, not only do we want to make basketball mainstream, but also build its lifestyle appeal among sports fans.”
Sunny Malik, head of global content and media distribution, NBA India, said: “Basketball’s popularity in India continues to grow, and by offering a range of NBA programming on Viacom18 in both English and Hindi, we look forward to reaching and inspiring millions of new and existing NBA fans across the country.”
As revealed by Variety, Bollywood star Ranveer Singh is NBA’s India brand ambassador. He will work with the NBA to help grow the league’s profile in India through its 75th anniversary season and will be featured on NBA Style, a new lifestyle-focused Instagram account for fans in India that showcases the convergence of the NBA and popular culture.
Anshul Ailawadi, head of youth, music and English entertainment for Viacom18, said: “Over the course of this association, we will be initiating a heavily localized marketing outreach and consumer connect program aimed at building fandom for the sport.”
Viacom 18 is a joint venture of Network 18, the media group controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and U.S. media conglomerate Viacom.