IPL Digital And Media Rights: Will Amazon Find Value And Shock The World?


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The Indian Premier League (IPL), ever since its debut in 2007, the league had been the most popular and highly anticipated cricketing event in the world. Year after year, the fans get filled with the excitement of their favorite team lifting the trophy. With big hits, flying wickets, and crazy chases, the event is undoubtedly the highlight of the year.

Another exciting event related to the event coming up is the auction of the media and digital rights. The last auction was in 2017 when Star India (now Disney) won the auction with a whopping bid of Rs. 16,347 cr. ($2.3b). They won the TV and OCC rights for the event and left the world speechless with this. The media tenders are of a span of 5 years.

So this year, tensions are high as we will be having the auction tentatively on the 10th or 12th of February. The auction will be an e-auction, as the Supreme Court read a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) – filed by Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy. The final decision rests with the BCCI to decide at their discretion. 

This year’s auction will see three big parties- Viacom JV, Disney India, and Zee-Sony. They will go for bids for both the TV and the OTT rights.

Amazon, since 2016 has been closely monitoring the Indian Premier League to try and invest there as well. The company bought digital rights for cricket in New Zealand to test the waters and is now ready to do it again. But this would only happen if the company sees real value and return on this investment. We might as well see Amazon as part of the bidding war for the rights this year, maybe.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge for Amazon is that it will only be bidding for the OTT rights of the tournament, while the other three bid on both. So if the bid gets increased, Amazon has to increase the offer only for the OTT. It should be done just to stay in the race and might as well lead to overspending.

Will Amazon partner up with a third-party company for the TV rights and then become a part of the elephants in the room? Or will it find bidding on the OTT itself to be valuable enough?

Guess we’ll just leave it till the time is near, and the auction gets done. 

It sure is going to be a lot of high-flying bids with a lot at stake.

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