American retail giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries are set to fight for the broadcasting rights of India’s popular cricket-based league, the Indian Premier League (IPL), Reuters said.
Indian Premier League
The IPL is one of the most watched and followed cricket leagues both in India and across the world, with millions of viewers. As per stats, its viewership reached 350 million in the first half of the 2021 season alone. The season runs for around two months with a series of matches played between different teams.
Indian players like Disney’s Star India and Sony have for long been the broadcasting channels for the IPL. Up till 2022, both companies have together paid around ₹163.48 billion for the IPL’s digital and television rights.
The IPL’s mammoth viewership and advertising revenue is now attracting international players like Amazon who are excited to enter the market. According to sources, Amazon and Reliance are expected to buy India units of Sony Group Corp. and Walt Disney Co. for the IPL, for five-year TV and broadcast rights. The cost of buying the units could run into a humongous ₹500 billion ($6.7 billion).
For Reliance, gaining the rights is in tandem with its long-term growth and digital expansion plans for its Jio platform, a source familiar with the matter said.
On the other hand, for Amazon winning the rights is important to increase its subscriber base. Since Amazon lacks a TV platform, it can only bid for digital broadcasting or bring in a TV partner.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which handles the tenders, is expected to offer flexibility to the bidders considering the huge size of bids.
In a Reuters interview, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said, “We will do our best to derive the right value a tournament like the IPL deserves.”
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