Amazon and Reliance Industries are considering making big plays for domestic rights to cricket’s lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).
The IPL is one of the most-watched sports competitions in the world. The 2020 edition of the IPL, broadcast by Disney-owned Star India, was watched for 383 billion minutes while the opening match alone attracted more than 200 million viewers.
Hotstar is facing increasing competition in the IPL’s upcoming tender, with Reuters reporting that broadcast rights to the two-month series of matches could go for a record INR500 billion (€5.91 billion).
Star India previously paid INR163.48 billion (€1.93 billion) for the digital and television rights until 2022. The Disney-owned broadcaster, which also streams the competition on Disney+ Hotstar, was already facing competition from Sony for the rights, but the two billionaire-backed players are set to drive up rights.
The Reuters report, citing sources familiar with the companies’ plans, notes that Amazon and reliance are both interested in the rights in an effort to boost their sports presence in the country.
Amazon recently began streaming cricket in India, while Reliance views the IPL as “critical” to the long-term plans for its video platform Jio.
While it would want to retain the rights, Disney is confident of maintaining growth in India without the IPL, CEO Bob Chapek recently told investors.