Friday, 03 February 2023

Amazon, Reliance, Disney race for IPL broadcast rights

Amazon, Reliance, Disney race for IPL broadcast rights

Mukesh Ambani's mixture is bringing together a consortium aiming to bid higher against entertainment giants Inc., Sony Group Corp, and Walt Disney Co. for the telecast rights to the IPL. This prize could be worth $5 billion or more in the cricket-crazy nation of almost 1.4 billion people.

As per the development helmed by Asia's richest man, Reliance Industries Ltd., and its television partner Viacom Inc. is in talks to include James Murdoch-founded Lupa Systems LLC and Comcast Corp. in the consortium, they asked not to be pinpointed as the discussions were personal. Bids are likely to exceed ($5.3 billion)400 billion rupees,

Amazon co would join the bidding war as it looks to pick up its sports offerings for Amazon Prime. Walt Disney, which acquired the tournament telecast rights through 2022 with the investment of Star, will be worn-out while Sony is expected to bid with Zee Entertainment Ltd. pending regulatory clearances on their proposed merger.

Considerations are ongoing, and details may change. The bids will be submitted to Indian Board BCCI, which will allocate the rights for five years starting from 2023. A winner to broadcast is likely to be announced around the end of early April or March.

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Sony "will evaluate bidding for both digital and broadcast rights for the upcoming IPL," said a spokesperson from the Indian unit. Zee refuses to comment. Representatives for Disney, Comcast, Lupa, Amazon, and Reliance didn't reply immediately to requests for comments. On Sunday, Reuters reported that Amazon and Reliance were among the top contender looking to bid for the IPL broadcast rights.

The fight for the IPL or Indian Premier League, a cult event that's considered the Super Bowl of cricket, spotlights the jostle among online streaming platforms to win eyeballs in the largest consumer market that's open to overseas firms. The last IPL edition brought in 380 million viewers. Who wins telecast rights will likely win millions of new viewers or subscribers in a highly fierce market that's seen the likes of Netflix struggle.

Disney started its Disney+ OTT service in India in March 2020 at the IPL season, seeing it as an "opportune moment" to launch. Retaining the IPL rights is crucial to consolidating its market shares in India.

Zee and Sony will be competing to bolster their SonyLIV OTT platforms service and television channels, respectively. In December, Sony Pictures Networks signed a definitive pact to buy 50.86% equity in Zee Entertainment and is awaiting regulatory approvals. The merger, once closed, will pave the way for a joint IPL bid by Sony and Zee.

Reliance is looking to stream the tournament on its digital platforms, and other partners may join the consortium later, one of the people said.

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