Religion of Sports has made their second company acquisition, and their second in three months. Back in January, the Gotham Chopra/Tom Brady/Michael Strahan-founded company acquired Main Event Media, founded by Emmy-winning producer Jimmy Fox, and set it up as their main pop culture arm going forward. They’ve now acquired Jiva Maya, a UK-based production company founded by writer and director Manish Pandey, who’s known for working on 2010 film Senna (writer), 2018 McLaren docuseries Grand Prix Driver (executive producer), 2020 F1 feature documentary Heroes (director), and 2022 Bernie Ecclestone TV docuseries Lucky! (writer, director). And they’re hoping to use that to expand their presence throughout motorsports, cricket, soccer, and beyond. Here’s more on the acquisition from a release:
With the acquisition, ROS and Jiva Maya will be able to continue to tell stories that transcend sports and have an impact on millions of audiences across the globe who have a deep love for impactful storytelling. Through a shared passion for storytelling and appreciation of the transcendent power of sports, the combined company plans to significantly expand its work in global football, cricket, and motorsport (especially, Formula 1 for which Pandey is known) and beyond.
“Jiva Maya allows us to plant a flag in Europe for ROS, engaging a new cadre of creators, producers and distribution networks,” said Ameeth Sankaran, CEO of Religion of Sports. “Manish and his team have enabled us to do that in a distinct and unique way that will allow us to grow with the same DNA of ultra premium content which transcends and inspires. Gotham, and our creative team couldn’t be more excited.”
…“We are incredibly excited to be joining forces with Ameeth, Gotham and the entire team at Religion of Sports,” said Manish Pandey, founder Jiva Maya. “Together, our joint company will continue to epitomize best-in-class storytelling, helping viewers appreciate the human condition and, in the process, learn more about themselves.”
Also joining Religion of Sports from the Jiva Maya team are:
Chris Sharp, who has over 35 years of media experience producing over 100 nonfiction programs including two AVOD entertainment services in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Switzerland
William Campbell, brings 30 years of production and distribution experience across more than 100 global entertainment and sports programs
Mark Harvey, who has over 20 years of experience in live sports production, sports documentaries and films, and was a member of the BAFTA winning Sky Sports cricket production teams in 2013 and 2015
John Miller, who worked in programming at Sky Sports and brings more than 15 years of experience in live and sports documentary production.
Christopher Armstrong, an award-winning editor and director has over 20 years of industry experience in sports, features and shorts with a special interest in cricket and motorsport.
ROS has grown a lot since their 2017 founding (which itself grew out of their titular show, which Chopra, Brady and Strahan co-created as an Audience Network show in 2016). The company picked up $50 million in Series B funding last year, and they’ve done a lot of high-profile projects, including with Shohei Ohtani, Draymond Green, Simone Biles, Steph Curry, and more. They’ve also brought in a lot of prominent executives. And it’s notable to see their expansion now continuing with further company acquisitions.
Jiva Maya seems like a particularly notable acquisition for ROS given the current interest in Formula 1, especially around Netflix’s/Box To Box Films’ Drive To Survive series. That series has boosted the interest in any kind of F1 content. And there’s also a potential opportunity here to also expand their content in cricket (which Chopra knows well, having directed cricket 30 for 30 installment The Little Master for ESPN in 2015) and soccer (which ROS focused on expanding around last fall’s World Cup), sports with a huge global audience. Many of Religion of Sports’ projects have been co-productions, too, so Sankaran’s quote there on “engaging a new cadre of creators, producers and distribution networks” also seems notable. We’ll see how this move works out for ROS and Jiva Maya.