The media rights for one of the most popular sports leagues in the world are coming up for sale, and the bidding is attracting media giants.
The Indian Premier League’s five-year broadcasting deal with Disney-owned Star India is expiring this year, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India is preparing to solicit bids.
The next deal is likely to garner more than double the $2.5 billion gained from the previous pact, which included both linear and streaming rights.
Disney would like to retain the rights after buying Star India and its streaming service Hotstar in 2019 as part of a $71 billion deal with 21st Century Fox.
- Sony, which is merging its India segment with Zee Entertainment to create a major media conglomerate in the country, is reportedly eyeing the cricket league rights.
- Viacom18, a venture of ViacomCBS and Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries (market cap: $220 billion), is also reportedly likely to explore a bid.
- Amazon and Netflix have also been speculated as potential bidders, though Netflix has never acquired live sports rights.
The cricket league may be the most-watched sports product in the world: Its 2021 season brought in 380 million viewers as of September, despite a four-month suspension due to the pandemic. That figure was higher than any of the last three seasons.