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Media giants battle for IPL rights
The upcoming auction for the next cycle of Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights is attracting attention from major media players who see the tournament as a way of recruiting millions of new viewers and subscribers.
Who’s in the game?
- Disney currently holds the rights (for the 2018-22 cycle) through Star India, which it acquired as part of a 2017 deal with 21st Century Fox. The IPL has been crucial to growing its Hotstar streaming service and it will want to retain the rights.
- Sony Pictures Network India held the broadcast rights in the preceding three-year period (2015-017) and, following its merger with Zee Entertainment, can be expected to bid again.
- Amazon currently has the rights to stream live New Zealand games into India between 2021 and 2026 – its first step into live sports in the country, but certainly not its last.
- Reliance Industries is reported to be putting together a consortium with its television partner Viacom18, which may include Comcast and Lupa Systems, Bloomberg reports.
How much will it cost?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has yet to issue a tender document but already observers are suggesting the media rights for the 2023-27 cycle will net it around three times as much as the last round at Rs 400 billion, or north of $5 billion.
Why it matters
Last year’s tournament attracted 380 million viewers. An executive advising one of this year’s possible bidders told the Economic Times that Star and Disney might not have made money on their 2017 bid, but “on the back of the property, they also built Hotstar. For any potential bidder, the value will be the new or incremental subscribers that the rights will get."
Sourced from Bloomberg, Economic Times, BBC, WARC [Image: IPL]
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