Disney To Fight It Out With Asia's Richest Man For IPL Rights As Amazon Said To Bow Out

Disney To Fight It Out With Asia's Richest Man For IPL Rights As Amazon Said To Bow Out

Amazon, Inc. AMZN is reportedly planning to drop off the race for rights to stream the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches.

Amazon Backing Out? The ecommerce retailer's Prime Video streaming platform which has already invested about $6 billion in India, is unwilling to cough up another $7.7 billion — the estimated cost of securing rights to the biggest cricketing bonanza for a multi-year period from 2023 to 2027 — Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The development comes as a surprise as Amazon was widely touted as the frontrunner in the race. The IPL is a multi-week cricket tournament played in April and May, annually, and attracts huge viewership in a cricket-crazy country with a population of about 1.4 billion people.

Just the English soccer and the National Football League are more popular than the IPL, Bloomberg noted, citing the Board of Cricket Control of India, the organizer of the tournament.

Related Link: Amazon Looks To Seize Opportunities In Cricket Streaming As Disney's IPL Contract Nears Expiry

Disney Pitted Against Asia's Richest Man: Star India held the media rights for the tournament from 2017 to 2022 by reportedly paying the BCCI $2.1 billion. Walt Disney Company DIS acquired Star India in 2019 and the streaming business was christened Disney+ Hotstar.

Amazon's multi-billion investments for rights to sporting events in the U.S. and Europe had led to the belief that it would make a push in the IPL auction.

The bidding process will be held as an e-auction and four packages will be auctioned off — one covering TV rights alone for the Indian subcontinent, another for both TV and digital rights for the same geography, a third for select matches, including playoffs, in the subcontinent and the fourth for TV and digit rights for the rest of the world.

The ecommerce giant's dithering now leaves the way clear for the others in the auction arena to fight it out among themselves. Apart from Disney+ Hotstar, the other major contender is Reliance Industries owned by Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani.

Paramount Global's PARA ViacomTV18, Sony Group Corporation SONY, local media company Zee Networks, Alphabet, Inc.'s GOOGL GOOG YouTube and fantasy sports platform Dream11 are all in the fray for the media rights.

The e-auction is reportedly planned to be held on June 12.

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