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ESPN sub-licenses IPL 2017 media rights to Times Internet- owned Willow TV
MUMBAI: American sportscaster ESPN has sub-licensed the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 media rights to Times Internet-owned cricket broadcaster Willow TV, which had previously aired the IPL in 2014, setting cricket viewership records in the United States.
ESPN had paid $12.4 million to acquire the IPL media rights for the US market for three years until 2017.
“Willow is delighted to bring exclusive live coverage of the Vivo IPL 2017 to our viewers across television and digital platforms. Viewer interest for cricket in the US stands at unparalleled levels, as over 1.4 million households watched the ICC World Twenty20 on Willow in 2016. We look to continue to set new all-time high ratings this year. The IPL is the crown jewel of professional Twenty20 tournaments, and cricket fans in the US are in for a treat when the tournament kicks off on 5 April,” said Willow TV CEO Vijay Srinivasan.
IPL 2017 kicks off on 5 April with the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad taking on last year’s runner-up Royal Challengers Bangalore. The tournament features 60 matches, played over 47 days in multiple venues across India. Willow will provide live coverage of all 60 matches, culminating with the final on 21 May.
Willow is one of the fastest-growing sports networks in the US and the only channel that is dedicated solely to cricket. The channel, along with its TV everywhere service, is distributed by the largest satellite, cable, IPTV and OTT platforms in a variety of subscription packages.
Times Internet had acquired Willow TV in February 2016 from its founder Vijay Srinivasan.
In India, the IPL will be broadcast on Sony Pictures Networks India’s channels while Star India-owned Hotstar will live-stream the tournament.