IPL Media Rights: Amazon takes exit route; Star, Viacom18, Sony, Zee in a 4-way race

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It was expected that the battle for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights would see the involvement of global players. However, the fight for the acquisition of one of the world’s costliest sporting properties will be now between home-brewed players in the Indian market as OTT giant Amazon has pulled out of IPL media rights bidding, which is scheduled to start on Sunday.

Notably, Jeff Bezos-funded Amazon was expected to be one of the biggest bidders in digital space, but it pulled out of the race without revealing the reason. Further, as per reports, Google was also interested initially but didn’t submit their details.

“Yes, Amazon is out of the race. They didn’t join the technical bidding process today. As far as Google (YouTube) is concerned, they had picked up the bid document but didn’t submit it. As of now, 10 companies (TV and streaming) are in the fray,” said a senior BCCI official as quoted by The Print.

After the exit of Amazon, Mukesh Ambani’s broadcasting arm Viacom18 seems to be one of the strongest contenders both in the TV and digital space. The other interested parties are Sony (previous rights holder), Disney Star (the incumbents) and Zee (Essel Group).

“Let’s make it clear, the Viacom 18 JV (Joint Venture), current rights holder Walt Disney (Star), Zee and Sony are the four contenders for the packages with solid footprints in both TV and digital market,” the official added.

For the unversed, last time when Star India bought rights for both TV and digital they had a composite bid of INR 16,347.50 crore, but this time the combined base price is more than INR 32,000 crore. Moreover, there are four specific packages in which e-auction will be conducted for 74 games per season for five years from 2023-to 2027, with a provision of increasing the number of matches to 94 in the final two years.

Regarding the packages, Package A has Indian sub-continent exclusive TV (broadcast) rights, while Package B covers digital rights for the Indian sub-continent. Similarly, Package C is for 18 selected games in each season for digital space, whereas Package D (all games) will be for combined TV and digital rights for overseas markets.

Some of the other contenders, especially for digital space, are Times Internet, FunAsia, Dream11, FanCode while Sky Sports (UK) and Supersport (South Africa).



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