Amazon And Rival Reliance To Fight Hard For TV And Digital Rights Of Indian Cricket League IPL
Amazon’s rivalry with Reliance Industries, India’s largest oil-to-retail conglomerate, appears to be moving to the cricket field. The two giants will likely fight for broadcasting rights to India’s most popular cricket tournament, attracting hundreds of millions of people.
According to reports citing sources familiar with the two companies’ strategies, Amazon.com Inc and Reliance Industries Ltd will compete with Sony Group Corp and Walt Disney Co’s India unit for exclusive television telecast and digital broadcast rights for the two-month tournament, which could fetch a record 500 billion rupees ($6.7 billion).
“Cricket is the second-biggest sport in the world with two-and-a-half billion fans, and IPL is like its Super Bowl,” said Anton Rublievskyi, head of Parimatch. Last year, this betting company advertised at the Indian Premier League (IPL). “If you’re not there, you do not exist,” he added.
Star India, which is owned by Disney and is one of the leading broadcasters in the nation with Sony, has paid 163.48 billion rupees for the digital and television rights of the cricket event known as the Indian Premier League (IPL) until 2022.
Another doyen of the Indian broadcasting business, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., is likely to acquire Sony.
The league’s games received 350 million viewers throughout the first half of the 2021 season.
On the other hand, traditional media businesses are up against deep-pocketed rivals like Reliance, India’s largest retailer, and Amazon, two billionaire-led behemoths battling for a piece of the fast-growing e-commerce pie while developing their digital platforms.
The assets of Future Group, a prominent Indian retailer, are already the subject of a contentious court battle between Amazon and Reliance.
Reliance is also negotiating with international investors to raise $1.6 billion for its Viacom18 joint venture.
“Winning this bid is critical to Reliance’s long-term plans for its Jio platform and its digital expansion,” said a source with direct knowledge of the company’s strategy.
“Everything that has happened at Viacom18 in the last few months, like buying rights to the Spanish La Liga and setting up a sports channel, has been building up to this,” the source said.
No comment on the issue was available from Reliance and Viacom18.
According to reports, Amazon aims to acquire IPL rights to increase the platform’s user base in India. Amazon’s Prime Video platform just began live streaming cricket matches.
There were no comments on the issue from Amazon.
Because the world’s largest online media firm lacks a television platform, it will either need to forge a collaboration with a television partner or will be limited to bidding on the digital portion of the agreement. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) awarded the rights to a consolidated TV and digital venture from Star in 2017, which outbid any individual bids.
Industry sources expect the BCCI to be flexible given the possibility of huge payments from bidders, including a deep-pocketed digital-only operator like Amazon.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah told Reuters that the board had looked at several models and offers, but he declined to comment on specifics or the possible cash value of the bids.
“We will do our best to derive the right value a tournament as the IPL deserves,” he said.