A team bus depicting an IPL team
Source: Yahoo Finance

Amazon plans to exit $7.7 billion race for cricket rights
The e-commerce giant plans to withdraw for streaming rights competition for IPL

image of Jeff Bezos alongside that of Mukesh Ambani
Amazon set to exit $7.7 billion race for streaming rights of IPL.
Source: The Times of India

News from this week suggest how Amazon is set to exit the heated race for the rights to stream matches of the tournament, Indian Premier League. This would mark it giving up one of world’s most popular sporting contests to competitors from Walt Disney Co. to Reliance Industries Ltd.

Estimates stated how the rights fetched about $7.7 billion, which the US giants plans to leave than getting into a bidding war at the auction this week. Entities familiar with the matter stated how despite investing over $6 billion in India, spending more for the league’s streaming sense did not make much sense for it.

Clearly, Amazon’s exit would leave the war to Disney, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and Sony Group Corp, betting on the game’s potential to help them assert their dominance in the market. Initially, Amazon had been rather determined to bag the rights as it identified IPL among the global sports it is interested in. It previously invested millions on European soccer rights, even forging a deal to broadcast Thursday Night Football at $1 billion season in the US till 2033.

IPL’s popularity in the Indian consumer market:

The Indian Premier League is a cricket tournament held in April-May comprising ten teams with players mainly from the British Commonwealth countries. Mainly, it includes matches consisting of twenty overs, lasting for about three hours. It draws over half a-billion viewers, trailing only English soccer and National Football League in global popularity.

The tournament was worth $5.9 billion in 2020, and could currently be 25% higher. In a first, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is auctioning IPL’s broadcast and streaming rights separately. Four contracts are available which broadly cover the television and digital rights, along with a pick of main matches both overseas and in the subcontinent.

With Amazon’s exit Reliance could witness a wide range of prospects with Ambani assembling a team of veteran executives to ensure a winning bid. Both business bodies have been at war in the Indian retail market for a while with their recent battle over Future Group’s acquisition. According to Media Partners Asia’s Shah, despite Amazon’s exit the cricket auction would continue to be an expensive and intensely competitive affair.

“Amazon took commerce and built the Prime Video content business on top of it,” Pathak said. “If Reliance wins, it’ll take the opposite approach — building commerce on top of content to make Jio a household name,” he said, referring to its technology arm.”