A consortium headed by Reliance Industries and its television partner Viacom is reportedly aiming to outbid major entertainment companies for broadcasting rights to the Indian Premier League.
Primarily owned by Mukesh Ambani, the richest sports team owner in the world with a $84.5 billion net worth, Reliance is looking to include Lupa Systems and Comcast in its group. Bids for the five-year deal starting in 2023 are reportedly expected to surpass $5.3 billion.
The consortium is expected to go up against Amazon, Disney, and Sony and Zee Entertainment.
- Amazon and Reliance are already in a legal battle for India’s Future Group.
- Disney-owned Star India’s $2.6 billion, five-year deal for the league’s rights ends this year. The company launched its Disney+ OTT service in India in March 2020 in alignment with the IPL season.
- That recent price tag was nearly four times what Sony paid in its 10-year deal for the rights starting in 2008.
Sony is expected to purchase a 50.86% stake in Zee, and pending regulatory approval, the pair will be able to bid together. Sony says it “will evaluate bidding for both broadcast and digital rights.”
The winning bidder is expected to be announced by late March or early April.
IPL’s Mass Appeal
Some have coined the IPL “a cult event that’s considered the Super Bowl of cricket,” and its numbers add up. The league had 380 million viewers last year, and this year added two teams and increased the number of matches to 74.