Viacom18, the Indian media and entertainment heavyweight, has snapped up exclusive domestic rights to the next two seasons of the Indian Super League (ISL) top-tier men’s soccer competition.

Through a deal unveiled yesterday (September 7), Viacom18 will cover the 2023-24 and 2024-25 ISL across both its linear and digital platforms. The telecasts will be available in multiple languages, and in addition, will be streamed free-to-air by the JioCinema service.

The deal has been struck by Viacom18 with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the league’s organizer and a marketing partner of the All India Football Federation.

Since the league’s inception in 2014, the ISL has been broadcast domestically by Star Sports, the pay-television network owned by media and entertainment heavyweight Disney (although JioTV did also cover the 2022-23 campaign). The top-flight competition is jointly owned – through FDSL – by Reliance Industries (65%) and Disney Star (35%).

Star's most recent four-year broadcast deal ended last season, which prompted FSDL to launch a tender process in late July that was managed by the Octagon agency.

FSDL said: “We are pleased to have Viacom18 as our media rights partner for the Indian Super League … As we enter our 10th year of growing soccer in India, it is great to associate with a partner who shares the same vision and believes in growing the consumption of soccer in the country.

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“Viacom18’s proven record and impact in offering a fan-first soccer experience to the Indian audience, starting with the FIFA Football World Cup, makes them the best partner as we enter the next decade of growing Indian soccer.”

Viacom18 added: “Winning the streaming and broadcast rights to the ISL is a big step forward for us in the direction of building a stable of soccer action.

"The ISL has led the resurgence of Indian soccer in recent years and coming on board with the league as the exclusive media partner enables us to contribute to the development of the sport in the country."

The 2023-24 ISL campaign gets underway on September 21 in Kochi, as rivals Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru face off.

The league will expand to 12 teams for the upcoming campaign, with Punjab FC set to make their debut after being promoted from the second-tier I-League.

The ISL is the longest-running sports league in the country after cricket’s Indian Premier League and is the most-watched soccer league in India.

In terms of Viacom18's soccer portfolio, meanwhile, the broadcaster also held exclusive rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup men's national teams tournament.