Bids for Indian cricket media rights hit $6 billion, Amazon pulls out | Business and Economics News

Bidding began on Sunday for broadcast and digital rights, and continued on Monday as the price soared

The bidding war for Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights is on, with Disney, Sony and India’s Reliance vying for what could bring up to $6 billion to the Indian cricket board.

The bidding started at 05:30 GMT on Sunday for broadcast rights, digital rights, a bespoke package that includes rights for high-value matches as well as broadcast rights for the richest T20 league in the world. world in foreign territories.

“We are very happy that things are going as planned,” Treasurer of the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI), Arun Singh Dhumal, told Reuters.

“The participants are very enthusiastic. Tendering is still ongoing and we are hoping for a good number tomorrow,” he said, adding: “This is the first time we have opted for electronic tendering to ensure a fair process. and transparent.

The IPL, which counts India’s top industrialists and Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan among its franchise owners, is often seen as a surefire ticket to high ratings and growth in the streaming space in booming line in India.

But while digital and television rights for 2023 to 2027 are expected to more than double the 163.48 billion rupees ($2.09 billion) that Star India, now owned by Walt Disney Co, paid in 2017, observers say caution might set in.

“There is also a global shift towards healthier valuations, where investor expectations have shifted from ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘growth with profitability,'” said Mihir Shah, vice president of consultants Media Partners. Asian.

Gujarat Titans, owned by European takeover company CVC, won the 15th edition of the league, beating Rajasthan Royals in the May 29 final in front of more than 100,000 fans in Ahmedabad.

The glitzy T20 league attracts the world’s best cricketers for two months of fast-paced matches played in crowded stadiums with cheerleaders and live music. Indian TV viewers, emerging from two years of pandemic curbs, are gradually shifting towards consuming entertainment online and away from TV – the staple source of middle-class Indian families until a few years ago . Acquiring the rights to IPL is a surefire way for any media company to attract millions of eyeballs to the cricket-mad land of nearly 1.4 billion people.

Amazon withdraws Inc withdrew from the bidding process on Friday, saying it did not believe it was a viable growth option for the company in India. While Amazon has already invested more than $6 billion in the country, spending extra just on the league’s online broadcast rights didn’t make business sense, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. who asked not to be identified.

Amazon, which identified IPL among half a dozen global sports franchises of interest, was initially determined to score a win, Bloomberg News reported. The retail titan has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on European football rights and struck a deal to broadcast Thursday Night Football in the US at $1 billion a season until 2033.

Reliance Industries Ltd is bidding through its broadcast joint venture, Viacom 18. Sony Corp’s Indian unit and local broadcaster Zee Entertainment are in merger talks but are bidding separately.

Last time out, Star India won a consolidated bid that gave it broadcast rights on TV and digital platforms.

“At a renewal value of $5-6 billion or more, the rights would require the winner to achieve significant scale in the competitive $20 billion streaming and TV industry,” Shah said.

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