Times Internet, has acquired Willow TV International, a cricket broadcaster in the US for USD 100 million (around Rs 673 crore).
This acquisition comes at a time when Cricbuzz, a division of Times Internet, has become the exclusive licensee for digital video clip rights, for US and Canada, for all ICC events between 2016 and 2019.
Satyan Gajwani, CEO of Times Internet, said,
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Willow to The Times Group. Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, and has the potential to become a major sport in the US. We’re excited to expand and strengthen our offerings for South Asians living in the US, and to grow interest in cricket across the US, both with loyal fans and new consumers.”
Named after English willow tree from which cricket bats are made Willow is a sports network in the US and features popular cricket matches and events. It was launched in 2010 by Vijay Srinivasan. Willow is the only channel that is dedicated to cricket in the US, with an aligned digital service at www.willow.tv.
Commenting on the deal, Willow TV International founder and CEO Vijay Srinivasan said,
“With the backing of The Times of India Group and its assets, I am confident that we can jointly build one of the premier sports businesses in the US.”
Between Willow, Cricbuzz and Times of India’s digital assets, the group estimates reaching about 15 million Americans with an interest in cricket. Starting on March 8th, Willow will exclusively provide a live US television broadcast and live stream of the ICC World Twenty20. Also for the first time, an ICC tournament will be available on a US television broadcast channel.
Last year, Coursera, a US-based education technology company has secured Series C funding of $49.5 million from New Enterprise Associates, Times Internet and other investors.