Viacom18, the Indian media and entertainment heavyweight, has acquired exclusive rights in India to motorcycling’s premier MotoGP series.

The deal, agreed with series organizer and promoter Dorna Sports and announced today (March 24), will see the 2023 season of MotoGP broadcast on the Sports18 pay-television network and the JioCinema streaming platform.

Coverage will include Friday and Saturday practice sessions, qualifying, sprint races on Saturdays, and grands prix on Sundays.

The season begins this weekend with the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday (March 26) and will culminate in Spain on November 26.

It will be the biggest campaign to date, comprising 21 races across 18 countries, including the series’ debut in India on September 24.

MotoGP characterizes itself as “the world’s biggest motorcycle racing championship that lines up the most skilled riders in the world on the fastest prototype bikes made by leading manufacturers.”

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It adds to an already strong sporting rights portfolio for Viacom18, which includes the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Twenty20 franchise cricket’s Indian Premier League and Women’s Premier League; soccer’s Spanish LaLiga, Italian Serie A, and French Ligue 1; basketball’s NBA; athletics’ Diamond League; and select Badminton World Federation events.

MotoGP, meanwhile, has struck recent rights deals with DAZN in Spain, Viaplay across the Nordics, and Tring in Albania.

Pushkar Nath Srivastava, chief operating officer of FairStreet Sports, the promoters of the Indian Grand Prix and the broadcasting rights licensee, said: “We are confident that Viacom18 is the ideal partner to showcase the exhilarating sport of MotoGP in India.

“Their extensive reach on both television and over-the-top platforms, combined with their commitment to launching and promoting premier sports, perfectly aligns with our vision for the historic debut of MotoGP in the country. The increased accessibility would help galvanize our youth and create a new generation of talented riders to represent our nation on the global stage.”

Hursh Shrivastava, head of strategy and partnerships at Viacom18 Sports, commented: “MotoGP is one of the most dramatic racing events in the world and Indian sports fans are in for a treat as the series makes its historic debut in India this September. We look forward to giving sports fans in India the world’s best motorcycle racing show possible and widening our fanbase through our diversified offerings.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive at Dorna Sport, added: “We have a lot of fans in India and we’re excited to be able to bring the sport to them. India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world. We are very excited that Viacom’s reach across India will bring MotoGP to all corners of the country and allow more fans to watch this incredible sport.”

Image: Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images