Source: Flickr user warrenski // CC 2.0 License

Amazon has reportedly removed itself from contention for media and streaming rights of world’s most valued cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League. Amazon’s exit from the bidding war leaves slimmer competition for chief candidates RIL, Walt Disney Co. and Sony Group Corp.

The IPL is a two month long cricket tournament, on the books. On the ground, it’s no short of a festival, full of bright colors, huge crowds, crowd loved public figures, top quality players from around the world, and all of the big bucks. The tournament kicked off as a huge success in the year 2008. While the first broadcasting contract, which was applicable from 2008-2016, was won by Sony Group Corp. at ₹8,200 Cr., the subsequent contract was won by Star India for a whopping ₹16,347 Cr. (Star India was acquired by Walt Disney Co. in 2019). Star India already had IPL’s digital broadcasting rights since  The tournament concluded it’s 15th season in the last week of May 2022.

Walt Disney-owned Star Media’s contract expired this season, and the rights are up for grabs for the year 2023 and ahead. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the sport’s regulatory body, has set the base price at $4.35 Bn, and the bidding war is expected to balloon it up to $7.7 Bn.

This broadcasting ontract for this cycle has been divided into 4 packages

  • Package A: For TV broadcasting rights in the Indian subcontinent. Base price – ₹18,130 Cr.
  • Package B: For digital broadcasting rights in the Indian subcontinent. Base price – ₹12,210 Cr
  • Package C: Digital broadcasting rights for a special set of games in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Package D: For TV and digital broadcasting rights in the rest of the world. Base price – ₹1,110 Cr.

As Amazon has already infused about $6 Bn in India, the sources say that investing such a large amount just for a sporting tournament’s broadcasting rights did not make business sense to the company.

Whoever emerges as the victor of this bidding war, has a clear path to becoming the sport’s staple platform for India. Nothing attracts viewers quite like the flashy, sparkling and shining atmosphere of the IPL. In the year 2020, IPL was valued at $5.9 Bn by Duff and Phelps (Now Kroll). According to Santosh N, managing partner at Kroll, this number could have grown by 25%.

The race to become a premier sports streaming property has intensified over the past few years. Amazon has been looking to expand into sports streaming to attract customers to its Prime subscription service. Netflix too recently announced plans to go for live streaming. Despite pulling out of IPL broadcasting contention, Amazon has shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire European Soccer broadcasting rights and have also bagged a deal for Thursday Night Soccer in the US at $1 Billion a season till 2033.